Tokyo ward hands out first same-sex marriage certificate

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A Tokyo ward handed out its first certificate of recognition to a same-sex couple Thursday. While local officials lauded the milestone, the certificate isn’t legally binding and the proclamation underpinning it provides a set of suggestions rather than rules.

The female couple, Hiroko Masuhara, 37, and Koyuki Higashi, 30, were celebrated by local government officials in Shibuya, the only Japanese ward to issue such a certification. Despite its limitations, proponents of the certificate say it is a step toward more equal treatment. For instance, under the ordinance that created the certificate, hospitals are asked to grant the same visitation rights to same-sex partners as they do family members. However, they don’t have to Read more…

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