The city of Takarazuka in western Japan said on Monday that it will soon recognise same-sex relationship with partnership certificates in June next year to support sexual minorities and hopefully spark a Diet debate on gay marriages.
“Municipalities can offer the biggest support to same-sex couples who face hardships in everyday life,” Mayor Tomoko Nakagawa said Monday at a news conference. “We want to deliver this message: Don’t worry on your own, we are with you.”
Couples living in the city who submit a “partnership oath” with their names and addresses will be granted a “certificate of receipt” under the Takarazuka mayor’s name. The certificates are designed to treat gay couples the same as married couples regarding various services.
Though the certificates are not legally binding, they are regarded by many as a big step forward for eliminating discrimination against sexual minorities in Japan.
Officially the certificates will begin being issued in March 2016.
By Ruchi Singh
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