Lawmakers in Tokyo’s Shibuya ward have become the first in Japan to the first to recognize same-sex partnerships as the “equivalent of a marriage.”
“The purpose is to realize a society where everyone can live in hope,” Shibuya ward Mayor Toshitake Kuwahara told media explaining that young “sexual minorities” live in fear, worrying and grappling with self-doubt.
The ordinance approved March 31 by the assembly of the district envisages guaranteeing the identical rights of married couples, including hospital visitations and apartment rentals.
The vote passed, with majority of the 34 ward’s legislators standing up to show their approval, media reported.
However, it is technically not legally binding as same-sex marriage is not recognized in Japan where many LGBT people keep their sexual orientation secret for fear of social disapproval.
Earlier, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe responding to the move by Shibuya Ward, told parliament that changing the constitution to allow for gay marriage would require “extremely cautious consideration,” The Japanese constitution “does not envisage marriage between people of the same sex,” he said.
You may watch a video clip of LGBT people celebrating this landmark event here:
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