In a significant milestone for LGBTQ+ rights in Japan, a regional court in southern Fukuoka has declared the country's failure to recognise same-sex marriages as an "unconstitutional situation."
The ruling, issued on Thursday, marks the culmination of the first phase of a coordinated legal battle initiated by campaigners in 2019.
This latest ruling in Fukuoka adds to the five rulings on same-sex marriage that have been handed down across Japan thus far.
Among these rulings, two have deemed the bans on same-sex marriage as unconstitutional, while one upheld the ban but acknowledged a violation of human rights due to the lack of legal protection for same-sex families.
It is worth noting that Japan is the only Group of Seven (G7) nation without legal protection for same-sex unions.
Numerous couples filed claims in five district courts, seeking damages from the state for being denied the right to marry.
Although none of the courts granted compensation, there was a division among judges regarding whether Japan's absence of marriage equality violates its constitution.
The recent ruling coincides with Japan's parliament inching closer to passing new legislation aimed at promoting understanding of LGBTQ+ rights.
The proposed bill asserts that unjust discrimination against sexual minorities must not occur. A vote on the bill could take place as early as next week.
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