Why is allowing same-sex marriage important?

Regardless of the country or time period, sexual minorities have always comprised a percentage of the general populace, and many same-sex couples desire the same rights and responsibilities as heterosexual couples.

Marriage has responsibilities that coincide with couples living and working together, supporting each other, and staying faithful. Also, marriage is associated with couple’s benefits such as inheritance rights, pension, healthcare, tax exemptions, and survivor’s benefits from worker’s accident compensation. There is no rational reason why these responsibilities and benefits are limited only to married couples of the opposite sex. Referring to “Equality Under the Law,” which is stipulated in Article 14, Item 1 of the Japanese Constitution, it is important to acknowledge that same-sex couples have the same responsibilities and rights as couples of the opposite sex.

Also, when a spouse of a married heterosexual couple is a non-Japanese national, he or she is able to reside in Japan and can eventually become a naturalized citizen.  However, in the case of a homosexual Japanese and non-Japanese couple who wed in a country that recognizes same-sex marriage, the non-Japanese spouse is unable to obtain a spouse visa from the Japanese government to enter, stay, and live in Japan.  Since the Japanese government is trying to attract non-Japanese nationals who have advanced knowledge and skills to revitalize the economy, one can assert that preventing non-Japanese spouses of same-sex couples from being able to reside in Japan causes a loss in potential economic benefits.

Furthermore, many Japanese nationals who are married to non-Japanese partners leave Japan and move to their partner’s country where their marriage is recognized. This tendency adds momentum to Japan’s decreasing population trend.

In addition to the legal effects of marriage, marriage is associated with ideas such as two people’s mutual understanding, trust, support, and cooperation. For same-sex couples, these meanings associated with marriage are important.