A district court in Japan court ruled on yesterday (17 March) that not allowing same-sex couples to marry is “unconstitutional, it was reported by Reuters.
The ruling is a first for same-sex marriages Japan and represents a symbolic victory in a country that still legally defines marriage as being based on “the mutual consent of both sexes”.
While a new law will have to be drawn up before same-sex marriages can take place, LGBT supporters celebrated the decision and said it has the potential to change their lives.
This follows on from a win for same-sex couples in Taiwan, the Taipei High Administrative Court overruled a decision by a Household Registration Office that refused marriage of a Taiwanese gay rights activist and his Malaysian partner on May 24, 2019, the day that same-sex marriage became legal in mainland China.
The office made the decision on the Act Governing the Choice of Law in Civil Matters Involving Foreign Elements, specifically Article 46 which stipulates that “the formation of marriage is governed by the national law of each party”.
Prior to the ruling, same-sex couples involving a partner from a country in which same-sex marriage has not been legalised, are not allowed to marry in Taiwan. With the High Administrative Court’s ruling to revoke this, the amendment to recognise international same-sex marriages is upheld so long as one of the partners is a national of Taiwan.
Closer to home, just a week ahead of Taiwan’s ruling, Hong Kong’s High Court refused a gay widower from identifying his spouse’s body after he took his own life as their marriage is not recognised under existing laws governing the administrative arrangements after a person’s passing.
Asia remains a challenging continent for employees and workers that identify as LGBTQ+ and as organisations and companies strive to further diversity and inclusion initiatives within their workplace culture, it’s imperative to understand what can and should be done to further LGBTQ+ workplace advocacy.
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