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Thursday, 06 January 2022 00:27

Tokyo To Recognize Same-Sex Marriage

Tokyo to recognize same-sex marriage.

Same-sex marriages are illegal in Japan, but from April 2022, Tokyo will allow same-sex couples to be officially recognized. City by city, same-sex partnerships are being recognized!

Still no marriage equality

Same-sex couples still cannot marry in Japan, although homosexuality is legal since 1880.

Last March, the Sapporo court ruled that LGBTQ couples should be entitled to equal marriage rights and that the ban to marry was “unconstitutional.” This decision has not yet been acted upon, but it’s a landmark legal first for Japan and marks an important step forward in advancing the acceptance of same-sex couples across all aspects of society.

Same-sex partnerships are recognized city by city

While no progress is being made on the national level, more and more municipalities are recognizing same-sex unions. The latest cities to recognize same-sex unions are Fukuoka, Osaka, and Tokyo.

Map showing Fukuoka, Osaka, and Tokyo that recognize same-sex partnerships.

Fukuoka

Indeed, in March this year, Fukuoka began issuing same-sex partnership certificates to same-sex couples.

Osaka

Then in April, Osaka decided it will do the same thing.

Tokyo

Finally, for Tokyo, the capital of Japan and home to 14 million people, including many LGBTQ individuals, the change began in March 2015 when Shibuya Ward set up a same-sex partnership for its LGBTQ residents. A few months later, in November 2015, Setagaya Ward did it too.

The Tokyo government has just announced that they will recognize same-sex partnerships. It means all the benefits associated with marriage will now extend to these pairs, which is wonderful news!

The local assembly overwhelmingly passed this initiative with no opposition.

Same-sex partnerships: the first step towards equality

While there are many areas in which same-sex couples still lag behind their counterparts with opposite-sex spouses, these partnerships are the first step towards equality.

They may not have legal standing, but they allow same-sex couples to access some benefits that married heterosexual ones enjoy while waiting for the legalization of same-sex marriage.

Top photo by Jezael Melgoza on Unsplash

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