Japanese city with 1.5-million population recognizes same-sex partnerships

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Same-sex couples living in Fukuoka, a Japanese city of 1.5 million people, are now able to enter unions that would be legally recognized. Last year, Sapporo became the first major city in Japan to issue official partnership vow papers to same-sex couples that want to create a family. The Mayor of Fukuoka, Soichiro Takashima, gave out the first official partnership certificate to a couple at City Hall. Anri Ishizaki, a 33-year-old transgender man and outspoken LGBT activist, was legally recognized as being in a union with 27-year-old Miho Yamashita. Same-sex marriages are illegal in Japan, but the men now believe that society has finally recognized and accepted them as a family and congratulated them with their love. The certificate does not entail legal rights or obligations like marriage under the civil law, but such couples will be treated as the equivalent of traditionally married couples when they rent city-run housing or seek treatment at municipal hospitals.

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