A Japanese court on Monday upheld the country’s ban on same-sex marriage, ruling that the ban was not unconstitutional.
Three same-sex couples had filed the case in a district court in Osaka, claiming that being unable to marry was unconstitutional. They argued that they had suffered “unjust discrimination” by not being allowed to get married and demanded 1 million yen ($7,414) in damages for each couple, according to BBC News.
The Osaka court rejected the case, ruling that the ban is constitutional, since Japan’s constitution defines marriage as “the mutual consent of both sexes.” The court also rejected their request for compensation. A lawyer told Reuters that they would appeal the decision.
However, the court did acknowledge that “it may be possible to create a new system,” saying: “From the perspective of individual dignity, it can be said that it is necessary to realize the benefits of same-sex couples being publicly recognized through official recognition.”
“Public debate on what kind of system is appropriate for this has not been thoroughly carried out,” the court added, as per BBC.
This news comes as a setback for LGBTQ+ activists who had won a small victory last year when a court in Sapporo found the government’s failure to recognize same-sex marriage was unconstitutional.
In the Sapporo case, the plaintiffs had asked for $9,100 each for the difficulties they’ve suffered. While the court ruled the “legal benefits stemming from marriages should equally benefit both homosexuals and heterosexuals,” they did grant the plaintiff’s request for money.
Japan is only G7 nation that does not allow people of the same sex to marry. Under current Japanese law, same-sex couples are not allowed to legally marry, nor can they inherit their partner’s assets, and they have no parental rights over their partner’s children.