Woman wins court battle after same-sex partner had affair with their sperm donor
A court has awarded damages for infidelity to a Japanese woman whose same-sex partner left her after having an affair with their sperm donor.
According to The Mainichi, the Mooka branch of the Utsunomiya District Court in Tochigi Prefecture made the ruling Wednesday, September 18.
The ruling is groundbreaking as it legally recognises their partnership, despite same-sex marriage not being legal in Japan.
The sperm donor, who the couple found on a social networking site, recently came out as trans and she has now legally changed her gender to female.
The plaintiff and the defendant began living together in 2010, before getting legally married in the US in 2014. They then held their wedding ceremony in Japan the year after.
They decided to have a baby together, and the defendant was inseminated with donor sperm the couple had sourced on social media, and her partner bought a house for them to live in as a family.
When it was revealed that the defendant had been having an affair with the sperm donor in January 2017, the relationship broke down. The defendant has since given birth to the baby.
Although the defendant said that damages should not have to be paid because same-sex marriage is not recognised in Japan, she was ordered to pay ¥1.1 million (£8,152). The plaintiff was originally seeking damages of ¥6.3 million (£46,690).
More than 10 cities and municipalities in Japan officially recognise same-sex partnerships, but same-sex marriage is not legal anywhere in the country as the government interprets Article 24 of the Constitution as applying to heterosexual couples only.
In July this year, Taiga Ishikawa became Japan’s first openly gay male lawmaker in the National Diet, and he said that he is “sure” same-sex marriage will be legalised in the country.
Japan’s population is becoming more accepting of LGBT+ people, and a survey conducted by Dentsu showed that 78.4 percent of Japanese people approved of same-sex marriage.