A Liberal Democratic Party legislator’s recent opinion has been taken as blatant discrimination against sexual minorities, flying in the face of the current social trend to accept sexual diversity.

Mio Sugita, who was elected to the Lower House from the proportional representation district for the Chugoku region, contributed an article titled “LGBT Shien no Do ga Sugiru” (Excessive support for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community) to the latest issue of monthly Shincho 45 magazine.

Sugita based her argument on her own prejudiced assumptions about same-sex couples.

“These men and women choose not to have children,” she wrote. “In other words, they are not ‘productive.’ I wonder if it is appropriate to spend taxpayer money on them.”

Even for heterosexual couples, whether or not to have children is entirely their personal choice. We shudder at how Sugita’s mind works--that she would apply biological “productivity” as the yardstick for judging people.

Her thinking is no different from that of believers in eugenics, who have historically justified the elimination of minorities from the gene pool.

Sugita also pointed out that Japan is a tolerant society with little discrimination against the LGBT community.

She is totally wrong. Various reports clearly show that sexual minorities are discriminated against in schools, places of work and local communities.

But Sugita insisted that should all sexual orientations become acceptable, “people may start demanding such rights as marriage between siblings, between parents and children, or between humans and pet animals or even machines.”

Her argument can only be categorized as beyond ludicrous.

It was no surprise, then, that even a young LDP legislator lambasted her cheap, incendiary remarks as not political discourse, “but hate speech, plain and simple.”

Unfortunately, not everyone within the LDP seems to share this young legislator’s view.

In fact, we were astounded when LDP Secretary-General Toshihiro Nikai told a news conference on July 24: “Everybody has their own political stance and philosophy of life. The LDP is made up of members from different fields, representing the entire political spectrum from the right to the left.”

In other words, Nikai gave no indication whatsoever of intending to challenge Sugita’s thinking.

It is a fact that many LDP lawmakers stand for traditional “family values.” But the party apparently conceded to social trends both at home and abroad in its campaign platform for the Lower House election last autumn.

"We will aim for legislation, sponsored by Diet members, that seeks to promote broader and greater understanding of matters concerning sexual orientation and gender identity,” the platform said. The LDP also pledged to “endeavor to realize a society that accepts diversity.”

Quite obviously, Sugita’s argument runs completely counter to that promise.

After coming under fire on social media, Sugita tweeted that a senior LDP legislator “of the Cabinet minister level” had given her encouragement by advising her, “You should hold your head high because you did not say anything wrong.”

We strongly suspect that this senior legislator represents exactly where the party stands on this issue.

Does the LDP truly intend to bring about a diverse society that accepts minorities? What is being questioned now is not just one member’s thinking, but that of the entire party.

--The Asahi Shimbun, July 25