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Spotlight on Pride Month | New

As part of our Pride Month celebration, Edward Mears, Iris Regional Network Co-Head for APAC, spoke with Alexander Dmitrenko, Lawyers Network Co-Chair for LGBT and Allies ( LLAN) to discuss Alexander and LLAN’s advocacy for LGBT+ rights. in Japan and reflect on the meaning of Pride. LLAN is a Tokyo-based organization made up of lawyers and other legal professionals who provide legal assistance to LGBT+ and other sexual minorities in Japan and promote their understanding within Japanese society. The main goal of the organization is to eliminate discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in Japan.

DLA Piper has collaborated with LLAN on a number of pro bono projects, including one of the first multi-jurisdictional pro bono projects Iris Represents to produce a survey on the state of marriage equality around the world. This project involved nearly 100 DLA Piper lawyers and trainees from many of our offices around the world.

In this video you will hear their discussion on the formation of LLAN, the challenges of greater recognition of the rights of the LGBT+ community in Japan as well as Alexander’s recent efforts to support Ukrainian evacuees who traveled to Japan.

Japan is now the only G7 country that does not legally recognize same-sex unions and although progress is being made, the road to equality is difficult. On June 20, 2022, the Osaka District Court dismissed the complaints of three same-sex couples from Aichi, Kyoto and Kagawa prefectures brought against the Japanese government, ruling that it is not contrary to the Japanese Constitution to prohibit marriage between members of the same sex. sex. This result stands apart from the March 2021 Sapporo District Court ruling, which ruled that the Japanese government’s refusal to recognize same-sex marriage was unconstitutional and violated the right to equality promised by Article 14 of the constitution. Japanese.

In its ruling, the Osaka District Court held that “Although there are differences between heterosexual and homosexual couples, these differences have been resolved to some extent by the implementation of other systems, and it is necessary to decide through democratic processes whether to extend the institution of marriage or implement another system [for homosexual couples]Nevertheless, the opinion commentary noted that the Osaka District Court ruling appears to suggest that Article 24 of the Japanese constitution (which states that “marriage shall be based only on the mutual consent of the both sexes”) does not limit marriage to a union between a man and a woman.

Although Monday’s ruling appears to be a step backwards, there is still hope as several other cases are pending and it seems likely the matter could be taken to Japan’s Supreme Court.

As Alexander said, “You can feel we’ve achieved so much. I hope everyone can keep this fire going.”

In conversation with

Edward Mears – a Tokyo-based senior partner with the corporate practice of DLA Piper and co-head of the Iris regional network for APAC.
Alexander Dmitrenko – LLAN co-chair. Alexander is a longtime LGBT+ advocate, having started his legal career over 20 years ago working on groundbreaking same-sex marriage and LGBT rights cases in Canada. He is currently a partner in Ashurst’s office in Tokyo.


What is Iris?

Iris is DLA Piper’s LGBT+ people’s network and takes its name from Greek mythology. Iris is the personification and goddess of the rainbow and the messenger of the gods.

Why Iris represents?

Through this tailored service offering, Iris will represent its pro bono LGBT+ clients, and as a firm, we are committed to defending and representing this community.