Japan’s ban on same-sex marriages does not violate the constitution, a district court in Osaka has ruled.

The ruling dealt a blow to gay couples and rights activists, after another district court in Sapporo ruled in 2021 that the failure to recognise same-sex marriage was “unconstitutional”.

Japan’s constitution defines marriage as one between “both sexes”.

It is the only country in the G7 group of developed nations that doesn’t allow people of the same gender to marry.

According to a report from the BBC, opinion polls show a majority of the general public is in favour of allowing same-sex marriage in Japan.

Several areas – including Tokyo – have begun issuing partnership certificates, to help same-sex couples rent properties and gain hospital visitation rights.

The Osaka case was filed by three same-sex couples, two of them male and one female. The case is only the second of its kind to be heard in the country, where conservative attitudes towards homosexuality remain.

In addition to rejecting their claim that being unable to marry was unconstitutional, the court also dismissed demands for 1 million yen in damages for each couple who argued they had suffered “unjust discrimination” by not being allowed to marry.

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