The fight for marriage equality in Asia marches on this week, as the Indian Supreme Court enters its fifth day of hearings on same-sex marriage, and LGBTQ+ activists in Japan continue pushing for marriage equality as the nation prepares to host the Group of 7 (G7) summit in May. Across the continent, similar movements are taking place, with the Human Rights Campaign “tracking developments” in India and Japan, as well as Thailand and the Philippines.

Tokyo Pride and international pressure on Japan

The weekend of April 22 saw nearly 10,000 people gather to celebrate the first Tokyo Rainbow Pride parade in four years. In addition to the parade and LGBTQ+ pride festivities, events supporting the queer community and pushing for equal rights will continue until the week prior to the G7 summit beginning. In light of Japan’s status as the only G7 nation in which same-sex marriage is not legally recognized, Tokyo’s first Pride since 2019 serves the dual purposes of celebration and activism.

“This is the first time in the past several decades that many actors from [the] business sector, labor sector and international community have raised their voices to support LGBTQ+ community in Japan,” Akira Nishiyama, deputy executive officer at The Japan Alliance for LGBT Legislation (J-ALL), tells PinkNews.

India’s Supreme Court hears arguments for marriage equality

Meanwhile, the Indian Supreme Court has begun hearing arguments against same-sex marriage. The conservative defense, led by Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, the country’s second-highest legal official, echoes the position of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who vehemently opposes same-sex marriage.

The petitioners in favor of marriage equality concluded their initial arguments earlier this week, with a team of senior lawyers, including Mukul Rohtagi and Menaka Guruswamy, arguing for the plaintiffs. Arguing that the court should not wait to take legislative action where fundamental rights are involved, Rohtagi brought up the Respect for Marriage Act in the United States to support the case, saying: “Our lives are getting passed. We are getting old, and we need to be respected as in a marriage. Call them queer; call them gay. People look at them differently, and that is a violation of Article 21. A violation of [the] right to life with dignity and also [a] violation of Article 15 when there can be no discrimination based on caste [or] sex.” The Equally Wed heart is a trademark of Palladino Publishing, LLC.

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Featured image by Juancho SC Photography