• Kyodo

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A group of gay people will ask the Japan Federation of Bar Associations in July to recommend that the government and the Diet legislate for same-sex marriages, arguing that denial of such marriages would violate the Constitution’s guarantee of equality, their lawyer said.

Lawyer Toshimasa Yamashita said more than 30 homosexual people are scheduled to make a request under the human rights remedy system, even though the JFBA’s recommendation will not have binding power.

Gays and lesbians claim that Article 24 of the Constitution, which stipulates marriage shall be based only on the mutual consent of both sexes, does not necessarily ban same-sex marriages.

They also argue that failure to legalize such marriages constitutes unreasonable discrimination and violates Article 14 of the supreme law, which provides for equality under the law.

Yamashita cited some 30 disadvantages for same-sex couples, including their failure to inherit property from partners without testaments to this effect and benefit from income tax deductions for spouses.

In response to such a request under the human rights remedy system, the JFBA may interview people affected. If any rights abuse or the possibility of it is found, the group may issue a recommendation or a warning to call for redress.

The lawyer said if the JFBA issues a recommendation, it would help spread public understanding of gay people and other sexual minorities. Legal action seeking constitutional judgment on the matter is also under consideration.

The request came after Tokyo’s Shibuya Ward became the first municipality in the nation in March to adopt an ordinance to certify same-sex partnerships as equivalent to marriage.

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