By AYAKO NAKADA/ Staff Writer
May 29, 2021 at 15:30 JST
Lawmakers of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party gather for a General Council meeting on May 28. (Koichi Ueda)
The ruling Liberal Democratic Party abandoned plans to submit cross-party legislation in the current Diet session to fight discrimination against sexual minorities due to concerns among conservative lawmakers about the proposed wording.
Tsutomu Sato, the chairman of the LDP’s General Council, said May 28 that it would be impossible to pass the legislation because there was insufficient time for Diet deliberations before the scheduled end of the legislative session on June 16.
But opposition party lawmakers are not giving up on trying to gain passage as many feel the time is ripe for such legislation given that the Tokyo Olympics are scheduled to be held from late July and a key component of the Olympic Charter is opposition to all forms of discrimination, which includes sexual orientation.
Discussions until now in the LDP have led to strong opposition about the proposed legislation from traditionalist elements in the party.
The General Council is the party organ that has the final say over any proposed legislation before it is submitted to the Diet. A May 28 meeting of the body failed to reach the unanimous consensus normally used in approving legislation for submission to the Diet.
Discussions between the ruling coalition and opposition parties led to the inclusion of wording in the proposed legislation that discrimination against sexual minorities would not be tolerated.
That triggered strong opposition from conservative LDP lawmakers, some of whom claimed that would lead to a series of lawsuits whenever a member of a sexual minority group felt discriminated against.
Others raised concerns that if the legislation passed the Diet, it would open the door for same-sex marriages to become legal.
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