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Japanese Feminists Must Transform, Not Preserve, Marriage

it's not enough to simply fend off right wing attacks

Forum: WMST-L
Date: 12/03/2004

Hisako writes that "The reason why I am interested in such policies is because the LDP, the ruling party of Japan, has recently released its plan for Constitutional amendments, in which they are trying to give special status to 'family values' and community as the foundation of 'the public.' This plan also recommends that the present provision of gender equality should be dropped from the Constitution."

The last part is not entirely accurate. The proposed amendment does not change Article 14 of the Japanese constitution, which guarantees equality under law regardless of race, creed, sex, social status or family orgin. LDP is indeed working to remove gender equity provision of the Article 24, which defines marriage as requiring equality between both sexes.

Many in Japan believe that the constitutional basis for denying same-sex couples equal right to heterosexual couples is this very provision in the Japanese constitution, which clearly defines marriage as only between a man and a woman. Of course, LDP doesn't intend to open up marriage to same-sex couple in any way, but the fact remains: in order for same-sex couples to receive equal treatment under law, the Article 24 must change.

Elsewhere in the world, feminists are working with gay activists to *change* the legal definitions of marriage to include more people --why should Japanese feminists solely focus on preserving it the way it is?

Emi K.

-- * Putting the Emi back in Feminism since 1975.