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Lack of rights for LGBT+ couples at odds with top law: Tokyo court

But ruling says Japan's denial of legal marriage equality is constitutional

Plaintiffs, lawyers and supporters walk into the Tokyo District Court to witness the ruling on the constitutionality of same-sex marriage on Nov. 30. (Photo by Hiroki Endo)

TOKYO -- The Tokyo District Court ruled on Wednesday that Japan's lack of a legal system to protect the rights of same-sex couples presents the country with an "unconstitutional situation," a step forward for the LGBT+ community in a nation that remains the only Group of Seven member that does not legally permit same-sex unions.

The decision was Japan's third on marriage equality. The Sapporo District Court ruled in March last year that not recognizing same-sex marriage violates Article 14 of the Constitution, which ensures the right to equality, while the Osaka District Court said in June that it is "constitutional" for Japan to not permit such unions.

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