Friday, September 27, 2013

Some Math Required

Thanks to a blog at a major media institution (whose employees I respect) we have been reminded over the last few months that:

1) The Constitution of Japan, in an extremely liberal reform for 1947, inadvertently banned gay marriage:
Article 24 - Marriage shall be based only on the mutual consent of both sexes and it shall be maintained through mutual cooperation with the equal rights of husband and wife as a basis.

With regard to choice of spouse, property rights, inheritance, choice of domicile, divorce and other matters pertaining to marriage and the family, laws shall be enacted from the standpoint of individual dignity and the essential equality of the sexes.
2) In Japan, adults can adopt other adults. Indeed, adults adopting other adults is the rule. (Link)

Given that an individual can establish his or her own sui generis family registry (koseki), I leave it to the readers to work out what could/should/must happen next.

I confess: like much of the rest of the world, I guffawed at the speculations of actor Jeremy Irons as regards changing the definition of marriage (Link). In retrospect, the problem is not that Irons' hypothetical is too far out there: it is that it is upside-down.

So sociologists, time to get out there and start counting.


Anonymous said...

If you're suggesting the use of adoption to substitute for marriage in the case of same-sex couples as a novel idea, isn't that actually something that already has a long history?

MTC said...

Anonymous -

Agreed, one should assume that gay couples figure out long ago that the adoption route was the only means of ensuring hospital visitation and inheritance rights for partners.

However, where are the estimates for the number of adoptions that are between adults in a love relationship? Why do we see nothing discussed in an academic way?

Furthermore, I am as dense as the next person (probably denser) -- but how stories can be written about adults adopting each other and about the unconstitutionality of gay marriage without mentioning the workaround that adult adoption represents for gays?