Statement Protesting Discriminatory Comments towards Sexual Minorities and Calling for Immediate Legislation to Recognize Same-Sex Marriage
During the meeting of the Budget Committee held on February 1, 2023 during the Diet’s 211th ordinary session, Prime Minister Kishida made negative remarks regarding same-sex marriage in response to a question by saying that this subject should be very carefully considered, stating “Same-sex marriage is an issue that would fundamentally change people’s views on families and values as well as society.”
In addition, according to news reports, a former executive secretary to the prime minister told a group of reporters on February 3, 2023, when asked about the prime minister’s abovementioned remarks, that the introduction of a system to recognize same-sex marriage would change society and would have a large impact on society, and all members of the Office of the Executive Secretary to the Prime Minister would oppose it. He reportedly also said that he would not want to live next to a same-sex couple and that there would be people abandoning the country if same-sex marriage is recognized.
The abovementioned comments made by the former executive secretary to the prime minister are discriminatory as they reject diverse sexual orientations and gender identities which equates to denying sexual minorities’ dignity and excluding them from society. The comments are unacceptable and in violation of Articles 13 and 14 of the Constitution as well as the right of sexual minorities guaranteed by Articles 2 (paragraph 1), 17, and 26 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. The current situation surrounding sexual minorities in Japan, where a person in such a position as the executive secretary to the prime minister, who is the head of the administrative branch, makes such discriminatory comments, is extremely serious.
The prime minister’s abovementioned remark itself is contrary to the G7 Leaders' Communiqué adopted on June 28, 2022 at the G7 Summit in Elmau which states that “we reaffirm our full commitment to ensuring that everyone—independent of their gender identity or expression or sexual orientation— has the same opportunities and is protected against discrimination and violence.” It is extremely regrettable that the prime minister’s remarks are causing serious doubt about the government's stance on the rights of sexual minorities.
The JFBA has compiled its “Opinion on Marriage between Parties of the Same Sex” dated July 18, 2019, and has submitted it to the Minister of Justice, the Prime Minister, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, and the President of the House of Councilors.
Paragraph 1 of Article 24 of the Constitution, which states “Marriage shall be based only on the mutual consent of both sexes,” is intended to clarify that marriage should be entrusted to the free and equal decision-making of the couples, and does not prohibit legislation to recognize same-sex marriage considering the assumptions and discussions at the time of the enactment of the Constitution. The current situation where marriage between parties of the same sex is not recognized violates the freedom of marriage of people who are sexually attracted to people of the same sex as well as the equality under the law and should be recognized as a serious violation of human rights in light of Articles 13 and 14 of the Constitution. The government should immediately carry out legislation to recognize same-sex marriage so that all couples, regardless of their sex, can use the same marriage system.
The JFBA strongly protests the discriminatory comments made by the former executive secretary to the prime minister toward sexual minorities and calls on the government to immediately take measures to deepen people’s understanding towards sexual minorities, such as LGBT people, eliminate discrimination towards them, and carry out legislation to recognize same-sex marriage.
February 16, 2023
President of Japan Federation of Bar Associations