Japan has ordered hotel owners to no longer discriminate against same-sex couples.
The country’s Ministry of Health issued a directive to hotels stating that refusing LGBT guest would violate anti-discrimination laws, according to PinkNews. The directive bolsters the Hotel Business Law which was already in place to prevent discrimination against same-sex couples.
Previously, same-sex couples were often not allowed to stay at the hotels despite it being illegal to refuse them. A 2016 investigation by Japanese news publication Ashai Shimbun found one couple turned away because of their sexualities.
“Told clearly (by the hotel employee), I faced a barrier in society that I probably knew existed, but had not encountered before,” the 31-year-old man said. “It is unreasonable for a group of people with certain qualities to be cast out all together.”
Osaka prefecture received a complaint from the man and later said they would not let the incident happen again, according to the Shimbun. The hotel later said that it was a mistake the guests were turned away, but hotel policy was to keep them in separate rooms.
Kim Ik-kyon, a human cultures professor at Kobe Gakuin University, said that the hotels have only been accepting of same-sex couples the past 10 years.
“It is a very good thing that the 31-year-old man raised his voice against the treatment he and his partner received,” he said. “Love hotels should use the case as a good opportunity to understand same-sex couples.”