A blow to same-sex marriage in Japan . . .
On Monday, the Osaka District Court ruled that Japan’s ban on same-sex marriage was not unconstitutional since the freedom of marriage in the constitution refers only to heterosexual relationships. The ruling is a blow to the LGBT+ rights movement in Japan and is the second in response to more than a dozen lawsuits filed by same-sex couples making their way through Japanese courts. In March, the city of Sapporo ruled in favour of the claimants, saying that banning same-sex marriages was unconstitutional. Activists had hoped the Osaka lawsuit would build on the lower court’s decision, putting pressure on the national government to address marriage inequality.
Singapore's Pink Dot rally resumes in person . . .
In Singapore, the annual Pink Dot SG rally was held in Hong Lim Park on Saturday after two years of virtual celebrations due to COVID-19. Henry Kwek of the ruling People's Action Party became the first Member of Parliament to join the event since its inception in 2009. Alongside comments by the Law and Home Affairs Minister in parliament in March deploring discrimination against LGBT+ individuals, Kwek’s attendance gives activists hope, especially about striking down Section 377A of the Penal Code, a British colonial-era relic prohibiting sex between men.
Legislation lags behind changing mindsets . . .
Despite the challenges in securing equal rights and protections for the LGBT+ community in Japan and Singapore, there are glimmers of hope. Last week, the Tokyo metropolitan government joined nine other prefectures in passing legislation recognizing same-sex partnerships. The policy covers approximately 14 million residents and gives same-sex couples the right to live in public housing and visit their hospitalized partners. A 2021 survey showed that 65 per cent of Japanese respondents support same-sex marriage, more than a 20-point increase from 2015. Similarly, a 2022 poll showed that Singaporeans, especially young adults, are becoming more supportive of same-sex relationships and that opposition to Section 377A is rising. This year’s Pride Month also features Singapore's first 'boy love' web series, which the producers hope will raise understanding, visibility, and acceptance of the city-state’s LGBT+ community.