31 Mar '15, 8am

In #Japan first, Tokyo district recognises same-sex partnerships

TOKYO (REUTERS) - A district assembly in Tokyo became the first in Japan on Tuesday to recognise same-sex partnerships, a major step forward for gay couples in a country where being openly gay remains taboo. The vote by Tokyo's Shibuya ward may seem insignificant compared to the United States, where gay marriage is legal in all but 13 states, but just proposing the statute set off an unprecedented discussion over equality, and is likely to pave the way for similar measures elsewhere in Japan. The lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community has been all but invisible in Japan, and legally binding civil unions are still a distant dream, with same-sex partners often unable to rent apartments. Cheers arose from a crowd gathered outside the Shibuya city hall after the measure passed by a hefty majority, and activists held up a rainbow banner saying "Thank you Shibuya".

Full article: http://www.straitstimes.com/news/asia/east-asia/story/jap...

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