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Could Japan legalize same-sex marriage this year?

Could Japan legalize same-sex marriage this year?

Mickey Mouse became an unlikely champion of same-sex unions in Japan after Tokyo Disneyland gave Koyuki Higashi and her partner Hiroko the go ahead to have their ceremony at the resort in 2013

Japan’s opposition party, the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan (CDP), will introduce marriage equality legislation to the parliament this year, according to local media.

The CDP is planning to submit revisions to the civil code to give same-sex couples the same rights as heterosexual couples, Mainichi reports.

Currently no country in Asia recognizes same-sex unions. Although, in May this year, equal marriage will become law in Taiwan. Thailand has also made steps towards recognizing same-sex unions.

CDP is considering amending Japan’s civil code. It currently describes marriage as between ‘husband and wife’ and ‘based on the mutual consent of both sexes’.

Alternatively, the CDP could introduce separate legislation to afford same-sex couples the same rights as heterosexual ones.

CDP lawmaker Chinami Nishimura said ‘it’s important to create diverse choices’ according to Mainichi.

The CDP is also fielding an openly gay candidate in upcoming elections. What’s more, it is planning anti-discrimination legislation.

Law suits and protests

Japan’s largely conservative society does not allow same-sex marriage.

What’s more, there is no nationwide legislation to protect LGBTI people from discrimination based on their sexuality or gender identity.
But, a growing number of cites throughout Japan have allowed same-sex couples to officially register with their local municipal governments under the partnership oath system.

Last month, however, ten couples announced they would be suing the government for its stance on marriage equality.

They claim government’s stance is unconstitutional.

‘We want our call to be widespread so that the freedom to marry will be recognized for everyone,’ one of the lawyers involved told the Japan Times.

Meanwhile, two Japanese women plan to marry 26 times to protest the situation in their home country.

Misato Kawasaki, 21, and Mayu Otaki, 22, will get married in each country where it’s legal to do so. Kawasaki identifies as a lesbian, while Otaki is pansexual.

Last week, a ruling Liberal Democratic Party lawmaker, Katsuei Hirasawa, came under fire for saying the nation would ‘collapse’ if everyone was LGBTI.