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Japan’s Support for Gay Marriage Is Soaring. But Can It Become Law?

来源:纽约时报    2019-11-29 03:13

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        TOKYO — Ikuo Sato stood in front of a Tokyo court in April and told the world he was gay.        东京——今年4月,佐藤郁夫(Ikuo Sato)站在东京一个法庭上,向世界宣布自己是同性恋。
        To a packed room, he described the anxiety he had felt as a young man, struggling to express his sexuality in Japan’s restrictive society. If the law is changed to allow same-sex marriage, he said, perhaps “we’ll make a society where the next generation doesn’t have to feel that way.”        在拥挤的庭审现场,他描述了自己作为一个年轻男性的焦虑,在充满约束的日本社会中苦于难以表达自己的性态。他说,如果修改法律允许同性婚姻,或许“我们的社会可以让下一代不必有再有这种感受”。
        Somewhere in the courtroom, his partner sat silently watching, hoping to go unnoticed. His family and co-workers do not know he is gay, and he hopes — at least for now — to keep it that way, fearing discrimination in his workplace.        在法庭某处,他的伴侣静静地守望着,不想引起他人注意。他的家人和同事还不知道他是同性恋,他希望——至少是现在——能保持这种状态,因为他担心在工作中受到歧视。
        The couple’s story epitomizes the contradictions that shape the lives of gay people across Japan.        这对伴侣的故事,集中反映了塑造日本各地同性恋者生活的种种矛盾。
        In many ways, there has been dramatic change. Lawsuits filed this year by Mr. Sato, his partner and five other couples seeking recognition of same-sex marriage are the first of their kind in Japan. Public support for same-sex marriage has surged in the last few years, making it seem suddenly within reach. Local governments are increasingly recognizing same-sex partnerships, and even Japan’s famously rigid companies have begun coming out in favor of them.        在许多方面,巨变已经发生。佐藤和他的伴侣,以及另外五对寻求同性婚姻得到承认的伴侣在今年提起的诉讼,在日本尚属首例。近年来公众支持的激增,使同性婚姻似乎突然变得可以企及。地方政府越来越多地承认同性伴侣关系,就连以刻板著称的日本企业也开始站出来支持他们。
        Yet in other ways, the gains remain abstract. Gay people face overwhelming pressure to conform to the silent, stifling norms of a society in which many parents and workers are still uncomfortable with the idea of their own children and colleagues being gay. And the conservative politicians who run the country and extol its sometimes inflexible culture refuse to touch the issue.        但在其它方面,这些成果仍然不切实际。同性恋者面临着巨大的压力,要他们遵循沉默、压抑的社会规范。在这样的社会里,许多父母和企业员工仍然对自己的孩子和同事是同性恋感到不适。而掌控国家的保守派政客却颂扬其时而僵硬的文化传统,拒绝触及这一问题。
        “The Japanese people think we should recognize same-sex marriage,” said Taiga Ishikawa, who in July became the first openly gay man elected to the country’s Parliament. But, he said, some politicians in the governing party “still have outdated views on this,” adding that there is a mistaken belief “that same-sex relationships are a ‘hobby’ or will add to the declining birthrate.”        “日本人认为我们应该承认同性婚姻,”今年7月成为首位当选日本议员的公开同性恋者的石川大我(Taiga Ishikawa)说。但他也表示,执政党里的一些政客“在这个问题上仍有过时观念”,他还说,人们错误地认为“同性关系是一种‘爱好’或是会加剧出生率的下降”。
        A recent poll reflected the dichotomy. The survey, by the advertising giant Dentsu, found that more than half of gay men and lesbians in Japan were concerned about coming out. Yet it also showed that almost 80 percent of people 60 and under now support same-sex marriage.        最近的一项调查反映了这种分歧。调查由日本广告巨头电通集团(Dentsu)进行,结果发现日本男女同性恋群体中有超过一半的人对出柜有顾虑。然而,调查还显示,在60岁及以下的群体中,近80%的人支持同性婚姻。
        That widespread backing, a jump of 20 or more points in just a few years, comes as Japan has caught up with patterns in other developed countries and has experienced what many describe as a “boom” in L.G.B.T. awareness.        这种在短短几年内就上升了20多个百分点的广泛支持,源于日本赶上了其它发达国家的进程,也经历了许多人所说的LGBT意识“兴起”。
        Advocates see the groundswell in support as an opening.        倡议者们将舆论支持的高涨视为一个契机。
        Haru Ono, an illustrator and rights activist, and her partner, Asami Nishikawa, who are in their 40s and live together in a Tokyo suburb, have long thought it was unfair that they could not marry. But they kept their activism quiet, fearing that making their relationship public could expose their children — who are now grown — to bullying at school.        年过四十的插画家、维权人士小野春(Haru Ono)和她的伴侣西川麻实(Asami Nishikawa)住在东京郊区,她们一直认为自己不能结婚是不公平的。但她们对这些主张保持沉默,因为担心如果公开关系会导致她们的孩子——现已成人——在学校受到欺凌。
        A run-in with a hospital changed all that. When Ms. Nishikawa brought one of Ms. Ono’s children in for a procedure, the staff refused to allow her to check the boy in, saying that he needed to be accompanied by a member of his “real family.”        在医院的一次争执彻底改变了她们的想法。当时西川带着小野的一个孩子去做检查,工作人员拒绝让她为男孩办理入院手续,称孩子必须由“真正的家人”陪伴才行。
        The experience “haunted me for a long time,” Ms. Ono said. Her anxiety only grew when she learned she had breast cancer and began to fear that her partner might not be allowed to be with her as she underwent treatment.        那次经历“让我困扰了很久”,小野说。当得知自己患上乳腺癌,她的焦虑加剧了,并开始害怕在她接受治疗期间,她的伴侣可能不被允许陪在她身边。
        For years, Ms. Ono said, lawyers had told the couple that “the time wasn’t right” to sue the government for the right to marry. Then, suddenly, it was. In February, they joined the 12 other couples across Japan in filing lawsuits. Others have since followed.        小野说,多年来律师一直告诉她们,现在不是为了争取婚姻权而起诉政府的“好时机”。然而时机突然就来了。今年2月,他们联合另外12对日本伴侣一起提起了诉讼。此后,更多人也纷纷效仿。
        A galvanizing moment had come the previous summer. In an interview with Shincho 45, a conservative magazine, a lawmaker, Mio Sugita, dismissed gay men and lesbians as “unproductive” members of society who would not bear children. Ms. Sugita speculated that recognizing same-sex marriage could cause Japan to collapse as it faces a growing population crisis.        去年夏天出现了一个激励人心的时刻。在接受保守派杂志《新町45》(Shincho 45)的采访时,议员杉田水脉(Mio Sugita)斥责男女同性恋者是不肯生育后代的“无生产力”社会成员。杉田推测若承认同性婚姻,可能导致正面临日益严重的人口危机的日本社会崩溃。
        The remarks were widely publicized, raising awareness of discrimination against gay people, said Alexander Dmitrenko, a Canadian lawyer and resident of Tokyo who has been a prominent advocate of same-sex marriage.        居住在东京的加拿大律师亚历山大·德米特连科(Alexander Dmitrenko)是同性婚姻的知名倡导者,他表示杉田的言论被广泛传播,让更多人意识到了社会对同性恋者的歧视。
        “It was like Japan’s Stonewall,” he said, referring to the 1969 police raid and following protests that set off the gay rights movement in the United States.        “这就好比是日本的石墙事件,”他所指的是1969年因为警方搜查及随后的抗议所引发的美国同性恋平权运动。
        When Taiwan approved Asia’s first same-sex marriage law this May, he said, it was a further prod for many Japanese, who have long prided themselves on being the leading democracy in the region.        他说,今年5月台湾通过了亚洲首个同性婚姻法案,这进一步刺激了许多日本人,他们一直以自己是该地区领先的民主政体为荣。
        Noting the country’s L.G.B.T. “boom,” Kazuya Kawaguchi, a sociology professor at Hiroshima Shudo University, pointed to two television dramas featuring the lives of gay men — “Ossan’s Love” and “What Did You Eat Yesterday?” — that became surprise hits this summer. Four episodes of “Queer Eye” were also set in Japan.        广岛修道大学(Hiroshima Shudo University)的社会学教授河口和也(Kazuya Kawaguchi)注意到了日本的LGBT“兴起”,他提到了两部讲述男同性恋生活的电视剧——《大叔的爱》(Ossan’s Love)和《昨日的美食》(What Did You Eat Yesterday?)——在今年夏天意外爆红。真人秀《粉雄救兵》(Queer Eye)也有四集将背景设在日本。
        The television dramas “improved people’s impressions of gay couples,” Mr. Kawaguchi said, adding that “the way they were shot, the language, were easy to understand.”        电视剧“改善了人们对同性恋伴侣的印象”,河口表示,剧集的“拍摄方式及所使用的语言都易于理解”。
        At the same time, attitudes have been changing among Japanese companies as they have embraced gay consumers and steadily increased their support for gay employees.        与此同时,日本企业的态度也在发生变化,它们开始接纳同性恋消费者,并稳步增加对同性恋员工的支持。
        Still, many of them have stopped short of becoming involved in the politics of same-sex marriage.        尽管如此,还是有很多人对支持同性婚姻的政治活动望而却步。
        In September 2018, the American Chamber of Commerce in Japan issued a position paper arguing that legalizing same-sex marriage would make the country more attractive for talent from abroad. Sixty-seven organizations have signed on to the statement, but so far only a handful have been Japanese firms, including Panasonic and the building materials manufacturer Lixil.        2018年9月,日本美国商会(American Chamber of Commerce in Japan)发布了一份意见书,称同性婚姻合法化将使日本更具海外人才吸引力。67家机构已经签署了这份声明,但到目前为止,只有少数是日本企业,比如松下(Panasonic)和建筑材料制造商骊住(Lixil)。
        While domestic media coverage of changing norms abroad has “contributed to a huge amount of discussion here, very few people in the Japanese corporate workplace or in family situations feel comfortable coming out,” said Laurence Bates, 63, who became one of the few openly gay directors of a major Japanese company last year when he was appointed to Panasonic’s board.        虽然日本国内媒体对外国社会规范变化的报道“引发了大量讨论,但在日本的企业工作场所或家庭环境中,还是很少有人愿意出柜”,63岁的劳伦斯·贝茨(Laurence Bates)说。他去年被选入松下董事会,是日本大型企业中为数不多的公开同性恋董事之一。
        The mixed feelings are evident in statistics from the 26 localities that recognize same-sex partnerships. As of October, only 617 couples had registered their partnerships, according to Nijiiro Diversity, a nonprofit that fights discrimination against gay people in the workplace. Advocates note, however, that the process involves considerable red tape and delivers few concrete benefits.        从承认同性伴侣关系的26个日本地区的统计数据中,也能明显看出这种矛盾情绪。根据反工作场所同性恋歧视的非营利组织“虹色多元”(Nijiiro Diversity)宣称,截止今年10月,只有617对伴侣登记了伴侣关系。然而倡议者指出,登记过程充斥繁文缛节,且并没多少实际好处。
        On the national level, the governing Liberal Democratic Party has refused to deliberate a bill proposed by opposition parties that would change Japan’s civil code to recognize same-sex marriages.        在国家层面上,执政的自民党拒绝审议由反对党提出的修改民法、承认同性婚姻的法案。
        The party insists that legalizing the unions would require changing the country’s Constitution: Article 24 of the document says that “marriage shall be based only on the mutual consent of both sexes,” language that conservative lawmakers have interpreted as requiring the participation of one man and one woman.        自民党坚持认为,要使同性婚姻合法化,就必须修宪:宪法第24条声称“婚姻只能以男女双方同意为基础”,保守派认为这一措辞设定了婚姻参与方需要一名男性和一名女性。
        That argument, however, has already begun to show weaknesses. The Japan Federation of Bar Associations has rejected the position, and in September, a local court became the first in Japan to recognize two people of the same sex as being in a common-law marriage. In the ruling, in which a woman whose female partner had an affair was awarded damages, the judge said that Article 24’s wording did not prohibit unions between same-sex partners.        然而这种论点已经开始显示出弱点。日本律师联合会(Japan Federation of Bar Associations)已经否定了这一立场,今年9月,一个地方法庭承认两名同性者适用普通婚姻法,这在日本尚属首次。在判决中,一名女性因其女性伴侣出轨获得了伤害赔偿。法官表示,宪法第24条的措辞并未禁止同性伴侣的结合。
        The lawyers fighting on behalf of Mr. Sato, Ms. Ono and the other couples hope that their lawsuits will make it even harder for the government to continue making its claim.        代表佐藤、小野以及其他同性伴侣的律师们希望,他们的诉讼可以让政府更难继续坚持其主张。
        It could be several years, though, before the courts issue a judgment, said Makiko Terahara, the lead lawyer on the case and a director of Marriage for All Japan, a nonprofit organization.        不过,该案的首席律师、非营利组织“日本全民婚姻”(Marriage for All Japan)负责人寺原真希子(Makiko Terahara)表示,法院可能要花几年时间才能做出判决。
        “It’s an important tool, but of course it’s better if the Diet were to make same-sex marriage a reality by changing civil law first,” she said, referring to the national Parliament.        “这是个重要的手段。当然,如果国会能先通过修改民法使同性婚姻成为现实就更好了,”她说。
        For the couples, a change in the law cannot come soon enough.        对这些伴侣来说,法律的改变来得越快越好。
        “The No. 1 reason I thought I had to participate in this lawsuit was that I wanted to show my children that it’s O.K. that we’re a family,” Ms. Ono said.        “我认为我必须参与这场诉讼的首要原因,是我想让我的孩子知道,我们成为一家人是没问题的,”小野说。
        “When we’re at home, we’re very naturally a family, but when we go out, there are times when we are treated as though we aren’t,” she added.        “在家里,我们是个自然的家庭,但在外面,我们有时候却不被当作一家人来看待,”她还说。
        Mr. Sato, who works at a nonprofit promoting H.I.V. education, does not know if he will be around to see the change. He is H.I.V.-positive and has diabetes and high blood pressure. “I hope it happens while I’m still alive,” he said.        佐藤在一家旨在促进HIV教育的非营利组织工作,他不知道自己是否还能看到改变发生。他是HIV阳性者,还患有糖尿病和高血压。“我希望在我活着的时候就能实现,”他说。
        He expects that legalization of same-sex marriage will encourage his partner to express his sexuality beyond the gay community and open up to his family and colleagues.        他希望,同性婚姻合法化能鼓励他的伴侣在同性恋群体之外的场合表达性取向,向家人和同事敞开心扉。
        “There would be no greater happiness,” he told the court, “than legally marrying my partner and becoming a couple in the real sense before I die.”        他在法庭上说,“在我死之前,没有什么比与我的伴侣合法结婚,成为真正意义上的配偶更幸福的事了。”

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