International News Highlights — June 24, 2022

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Wales' Gareth Bale — Photo by Rui Vieira / AP
Wales' Gareth Bale — Photo by Rui Vieira / AP

Gay Welsh fans boycott World Cup after qualifying
The BBC reported on June 19 that Gay couple Seiriol and Jamie Dawes-Hughes, both Welsh football fans, will not be traveling to Qatar for this year's World Cup, despite their team qualifying for the first time in 64 years.

"Before my husband and I go on holiday, the first thing we do is Google Gay rights in that country," said Seiriol Dawes-Hughes. "That's something that straight people do not have to do, but it's something that we do every time, and it's remarkable how many countries that people go to regularly aren't safe for people like us, and Qatar is definitely one of those."

Qatar has sent out messages of inclusion, but like many other fans, the Dawes-Hugheses aren't convinced. "This is the clearest and most brazen example of sportswashing I can think of," Seiriol said, meaning Qatar was using sports to improve its international image.

"If this was the women's World Cup, then a large percentage of the player [who are Gay] could not play," he went on. "So the idea that Welsh female players can't go to support their male counterparts in the first World Cup since '58 is completely unacceptable."

Same-sex marriage not yet debated enough, Japanese court says
Reuters reported on June 20 that a Japanese court has ruled that a ban on same-sex marriage is not unconstitutional, after three same-sex couples filed the case in an Osaka district court. The court also threw out the couples' demand for one million yen each in damages.

"I actually wonder if the legal system in this country is really working," said Machi Sakata, a plaintiff who married her partner in the United States. "I think there's the possibility that this ruling may really corner us."

Rising support for same-sex marriage in polls and the introduction of same-sex partnership rights in Tokyo had activists hopeful prior to the ruling. But the court said that same-sex marriage was defined as between opposite genders only, and that there hadn't yet been enough debate about same-sex marriage in Japanese society.

Lawyer Akiyoshi Mawa said that an appeal was planned, and that "we emphasized in this case that we wanted same-sex couples to have access to the same things as regular couples."