A district court in Nagoya, Japan, has become the second district court in the country to rule that banning same-sex couples from marrying is unconstitutional.
Tuesday’s ruling marked the end of a lawsuit that a male same-sex couple filed in February 2019, in which they sued their local government after their marriage registration was not recognized.
While the Nagoya court ruled the unconstitutionality of same-sex marriage, it reportedly rejected the plaintiffs’ demand of 1 million yen each (approximately $7,150) as compensation.
The ruling was met with celebration on Tuesday from the plaintiffs, whose names were not revealed, and other supporters of LGBTQ+ rights who waited outside the Nagoya District Court waving rainbow flags.
“I feel the way of thinking is changing with the times,” one of the plaintiffs told reporters.
In March 2021, Hokkaido’s Sapporo District Court became the first district court in Japan to rule that not recognizing same-sex marriage is a violation of Article 14 of Japan’s constitution.
“All of the people are equal under the law and there shall be no discrimination in political, economic or social relations because of race, creed, sex, social status or family origin,” the constitution states.
In their lawsuit, the Nagoya couple argued that their local government went against Article 14 by not recognizing their marriage.
On Tuesday, the judge declared that not recognizing same-sex marriage is a violation of both Article 14 and Article 24, with the latter stating that “laws shall be enacted from the standpoint of individual dignity and the essential equality of the sexes.”
According to lawyer Mizutani Yoko, Nagoya’s verdict is a huge step toward marriage equality in Japan, and the court has made “a more thorough decision on the issue of same-sex marriage than any other district court so far.”
Other similar lawsuits pertaining to same-sex marriage have also been filed in other Japanese cities in the past few years.
District courts in Osaka and Tokyo, however, ruled last year that banning same-sex marriage is not a violation of the constitution.