A Japanese court has ruled that the country’s ban on same-sex marriage does not violate its constitution.
It also rejected demands for A$10,000 compensation by three same-sex couples who said their right to free union and equality has been violated.
The Osaka District Court ruling is the second significant decision on the issue and disagrees with the first by a Sapporo court that found the ban unconstitutional.
Reuters reports the Osaka judgement said that marriage was defined as being only between opposite genders and not enough debate on same-sex marriage had taken place in Japanese society.
Public opinion in Japan currently favours legalising same-sex marriage, but the latest ruling underscores how divisive the issue remains in Japan.
It’s the only member of the Group of Seven major industrialised nations that does not recognise same-sex unions.
Taiwan is the only place in Asia to have legalised same-sex marriage.
The recent introduction of partnership rights for same-sex couples in Tokyo had raised LGBT hopes for change in Japan.
Under current rules in Japan, same-sex couples cannot inherit each other’s homes, businesses and other assets that they share, and they have no parental rights over each other’s children.
They are often barred from renting apartments together as well as from hospital visits and other services available to heterosexual couples.