Election of gay lawmaker in Japan spurs hopes for same-sex marriage

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07/24/2019

Japan’s first openly gay male lawmaker said on Tuesday he believed the country would legalize same-sex marriage, months after Taiwan became the first place in Asia to allow gay unions. Taiga Ishikawa, 45, was elected to parliament’s upper house on Sunday, on a platform calling for marriage equality, with the main opposition Constitutional Democratic Party, also the party of Japan’s first openly LGBT+ lawmaker, elected in 2013. “Since the early 2000s, the issue of same-sex marriage has progressed leaps and bounds,” Ishikawa told the Thomson Reuters Foundation by phone on Tuesday. “It will happen within the six years of my term, I am sure.” Japan’s laws on LGBT+ issues are relatively liberal compared with many Asian countries, with homosexual sex legal since 1880, but being openly gay remains largely taboo. Same-sex marriage is illegal and Japan’s prime minister, Shinzo Abe, has opposed efforts to legalize it.

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