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Gay Couples Sue Japanese Government In First-Ever Lawsuit Challenging Same-Sex Marriage Ban

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TOKYO (AP) — The Latest on lawsuits challenging Japan’s rejection of same-sex marriage (all times local):

11 a.m.

Thirteen couples have filed Japan’s first lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the country’s rejection of same-sex marriage.

Six couples holding banners saying “Marriage For All Japan” walked into Tokyo District Court on Thursday to file their cases on Valentine’s Day. Three couples in Osaka, one couple in Nagoya and three couples in Sapporo also filed cases against the government.

Plaintiff Kenji Aiba, standing next to his partner Ken Kozumi, told reporters that he would “fight this war together with sexual minorities all around Japan.”

The lawsuit argues that the law violates their constitutional right to equality. While Japanese law and many lawmakers lag behind, public acceptance of sexual diversity and same-sex marriage has grown in Japan.

The plaintiffs’ lawyers think the cases could take as long as five years or more to be decided.


10 a.m.

Thirteen same-sex couples are filing Japan’s first lawsuits challenging the constitutionality of the country’s rejection of same-sex marriage.

The Valentine Day lawsuits to be filed in Tokyo and in other courts around the country on Thursday argue that the law violates same-sex couples’ constitutional rights to equality. They want the government to follow the example of many other nations in guaranteeing marital freedom.

Ten Japanese municipalities have enacted “partnership” ordinances for same-sex couples to make it easier for them to rent apartments together, among other things, but they are not legally binding.

Many LGBT people hide their sexuality, fearing prejudice at home, school or work.

The obstacles are worse for transgender people, who face extra difficulties including a requirement they be sterilized to marry someone of the same birth sex.

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Chicago Police Questioning Two Persons of Interest In Attack of Jussie Smollett

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CHICAGO (AP) — The Latest on the attack on ‘Empire’ cast member Jussie Smollett (all times local):

11:35 a.m.

Chicago police say they’re interviewing two “persons of interest” who surveillance photos show were in the area where “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett says he was attacked last month.

Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said Thursday that the two men aren’t considered suspects but may have been in the area at the time.

Guglielmi told The Associated Press that the two men are the same people shown in surveillance photos released last month by police.

Smollett says two masked men shouted racial and homophobic slurs at him before beating him and putting a rope around his neck when he was walking downtown early on Jan. 29.

Guglielmi says the men were identified through the use of advanced technology, interviews with Smollett and witnesses, and transportation records.


9 a.m.

“Empire” actor Jussie Smollett is responding to critics who question his report about being attacked in downtown Chicago last month.

Smollett told police two masked men shouted racial and homophobic slurs at him, attacked him and put a rope around his neck early on Jan. 29. The 36-year-old actor is black and openly gay.

Smollett tells ABC News it’s “ridiculous” to think he’d lie in his explanation for being outside at 2 a.m. in frigid Chicago weather.

He says he left the rope and clothes on when police arrived “because I wanted them to see.” He says accusations that the attack was a date gone bad are offensive.

No arrests have been made. Police say they’ve not found surveillance video that shows the attack but that the investigation is ongoing.

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