Japanese lawmaker says gay marriage will lead to Japan’s ‘decline and ruin’

A Japanese politician has sparked controversy by saying that marriage equality would destroy his country.

Tom Tanigawa, a member of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) who sits in the House of Representatives, also said that legalising same-sex unions was unnecessary, because being gay is “a hobby.”

His comments came just days after his fellow LDP representative Mio Sugita wrote that gay relationships would lead people to marry their pets and eventually destroy society.

Tanigawa with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who also leads his party (Tanigawa Tom/facebook)

Thousands protested outside the LDP’s headquarters because of Sugita’s article, which also said taxes shouldn’t be used to support gay couples because “these men and women don’t bear children — in other words, they are ‘unproductive.’”

During an online debate show, Tanigawa said: “It’s not that I don’t approve of diversity and it’s fine if women like women and men like men.

“But it’s not necessary to legalise same-sex marriage. It’s like a hobby,” he added, according to The Japan Times.

TOKYO, JAPAN - NOVEMBER 05: Japanese couple Koyuki Higashi (L) and Hiroko Masuhara (R) celebrate as hold up their same-sex marriage certificate in front of Shibuya's Hachiko statue on November 5, 2015 in Tokyo, Japan. Shibuya Ward in the Tokyo became the first local government in Japan to issue the official certificates recognizing same-sex partnerships. (Photo by Christopher Jue/Getty Images)

Japan is relatively accepting of LGBT people compared to other Asian countries (Christopher Jue/Getty)

Japan is relatively accepting of LGBT people compared to other Asian countries, with eight cities and city wards including Fukuoka and Sapporo having legally recognised same-sex unions.

But the 42-year-old lawmaker, who is in his second term, explained that he thought marriage should be limited to straight people for the good of Japan.

“A man and a woman get married and have children. That is how a traditional family is formed,” he said.

Tanigawa campaigning for election with Abe (Tanigawa Tom/facebook)

“Humans have been doing so from antiquity to fend off nations’ decline and ruin.”

This sentiment is similar to that of Sugita, who said that “a society deprived of ‘common sense’ and ‘normalcy’ is destined to lose ‘order’ and eventually collapse. I don’t want Japan to be a society like this.”

Tanigawa’s remarks went against his party’s official booklet on LGBT people, which notes that “there is a widespread misunderstanding that (being a sexual minority) is a matter of individual will, taste or preference.”

Mio Sugita, who has also sparked outrage with her anti-LGBT (mio sugita/facebook)

In response to the backlash which his comments prompted, Tanigawa told The Asahi Shimbun: “What I meant was that it is difficult to accept same-sex marriage under Article 24 of the Constitution that states ‘marriage shall be based only on the mutual consent of both sexes.’”

He added: “I did not intend to discriminate against LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) people, nor do I deny diversity.”

Taiga Ishikawa, who became the country’s first openly gay politician in 2011, said that “Tanigawa’s comments are not something we can tolerate, as this kind of prejudice will spread, making things worse.

Tanigawa’s remarks have been condemned (Tanigawa Tom/facebook)

“Despite the fact the LDP has a leaflet that says there are people who mistakenly call LGBT lifestyle a ‘hobby’, we have comments like Tanigawa’s,” Ishikawa observed.

Kanako Otsuji, who was Japan’s first lesbian politician in 2007, also condemned Tanigawa for his statements, asking on Twitter: “Have you ever thought about the rate of suicide and suicidal ideation by sexual minority children?

“It was because of such discourse that I could not have self-affirmation,” she added.