Photo/Illutration Lawyers and legal scholars hold a news conference on June 8 urging passage of a bill to end discrimination against sexual minorities. (Eri Niiya)

More than a thousand lawyers and legal experts issued an emergency declaration on June 8 urging the government to quickly pass legislation to end discrimination against sexual minorities.

A total of 1,285 individuals signed the declaration stating that such an equality law “would be an important first step to realizing a fair society.”

The statement added that those who identify themselves as a sexual minority have made various efforts to raise their voices even as they face difficulties and isolation.

“We cannot find a reason for not submitting such legislation to the Diet,” the declaration concluded.

Meanwhile, an executive of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party said on June 8 that any legislation to promote understanding of sexual minorities would have to be vastly rewritten from the bill that failed to gain unanimous consent in the General Council last month.

Tsutomu Sato, the General Council chairman, was asked about the large number of voices calling for the legislation to be passed in the current Diet session.

Touching upon the fact that any decision by the General Council required unanimous approval, Sato said, “I cannot say there is not a possibility of it passing the council if a proposal that does not trigger opposition is submitted to the General Council.”

He said the current bill could not be resubmitted to the General Council as is and called for further discussions within the LDP before any proposal is again brought before the party organ.

Lawmakers with traditionalist views in the LDP raised strong objections to the proposal designed to prevent discrimination against sexual minorities.

With no approval granted at the May 28 General Council meeting, the LDP decided that it could not agree to submit the legislation in the current Diet session.

(Ayako Nakada contributed to this article.)