A group of gay and lesbian activists was awarded compensation by a high court Sept. 16 for the Tokyo Metropolitan Government’s refusal to let them use public accommodations in Fuchu, west Tokyo, in 1990.
The Tokyo High Court ordered the metropolitan government to pay damages totaling 167,200 yen to the plaintiffs, arguing that the government’s education committee, which manages the facility, should have had enough knowledge and sensitivity about homosexuals.
The education committee argued in court that it was difficult for the facility manager and the committee at the time to have enough information on homosexuals when they rejected their application for use of the facility, known as “Fuchu Seinen no Ie,” or “The Fuchu Home of the Young.”
The metropolitan government had lost the lawsuit in Tokyo District Court in 1994 and appealed to the high court. “The court ruled again that the refusal, which was a clear discrimination against homosexuals by the administration, is definitely illegal. We really welcome this decision,” said Masaki Inaba, a representative of the homosexual group “Ugoku Gei to Rezubian no Kai” (“The Society of Gay and Lesbian Activists”).
Tadashi Ichikawa, chief of the metropolitan government’s education committee, did not immediately comment on whether they will appeal the ruling to the Supreme Court. The Tokyo government had refused to allow the group to use the facility, citing an internal rule that people of different sexes should stay in separate rooms overnight.
Homosexuals, likewise, should not be allowed to share one room given the social sentiment and possible adverse effects on young people, the local government argued. The high court determined that as the facility only has a few single rooms, homosexuals would always be excluded from the facility if this rule were applied.
It also argued that whether sexual acts take place is a private matter, although they do not believe such acts should take place in a public facility. However, the court also stated that there is little possibility of such behavior taking place in a room where there are more than six people at one time.