A HISTORICAL LOOK

WORLDThe history of Marriage Equality in the world

  • Europe
  • Asia
  • Oceania
  • America
  • Africa
  • 2001.4 Netherlands
  • 2003.6 Belgium
  • 2005.7 Spain
  • 2005.7 Canada
  • 2006.11 South Africa
  • 2009.1 Norway
  • 2009.5 Sweden
  • 2010.6 Portugal
  • 2010.6 Iceland
  • 2010.7 Argentina
  • 2012.6 Denmark
  • 2013.5 Brazil
  • 2013.5 France
  • 2013.8 Uruguay
  • 2013.8 new Zealand
  • 2014.3 England ※Excluding Northern Ireland
  • 2014.12 Scotland
  • 2015.1 Luxembourg
  • 2015.11 Ireland
  • 2015.6 Mexico
  • 2015.6 America
  • 2016.4 Columbia
  • 2017.3 Finland
  • 2017.9 Malta
  • 2017.10 Germany
  • 2017.12 Australia
  • 2019.1 Austria
  • 2019.5 Taiwan

The Status of Same-sex marriages in the World

Denmark created Registered Partnerships in 1989 for the first time in the world, where same-sex couples were granted almost all of the rights of opposite-sex marriage. In this arrangement, the union of the individuals of the same sex is legally protected even if it is not considered as formal marriage.

About 10 years after that, the same-sex marriage was finally legalized in the Netherlands in 2001.

As of January 2019, same-sex marriages are performed in 25 countries in Europe, the Americas and Oceania.
Although no country in Asia has yet introduced same-sex marriage, Taiwan’s Constitutional Court ruled in May 2017 ruled that the existing law should be revised or a new law created to enable same-sex marriages within two years by May 2019.


Then, what about Japan?

In Japan, the Shibuya and Setagaya wards in Tokyo enacted an ordinance to offer a special partnership certificate for same-sex couples in 2015.

As of January 2019, the partnerships are available in 10 municipalities in Japan. There are also other local governments which have decided to implement similar measures.

But since such arrangements are not legally recognized as “marriage” sanctioned by the state, these ordinances don’t address the aforementioned issues including those surrounding inheritance. However, Japan is moving forward bit by bit. Same-sex marriage will be realized in Japan if we keep on demanding it.


PARTNERSHIPHistorical Timeline The Road Toward Same-sex Marriage

Same-sex partnerships in Japan. In Japan, Shibuya and Setagaya wards in Tokyo enacted ordinances recognized same-sex relationships and began to issue special partnership certificates for couples in 2015. Special partnerships certified by local governments are completely different from formal legal marriage validated by Japanese law. Therefore, same-sex couples continue to face discrimination.
However, the significance of public recognition of the same-sex partnership by regional governments is material, partly because it raises awareness that such same-sex couples are already an important part of the community.

As of April 2019, partnership certification exists in the following 20 cities. There are also other local governments which have decided to implement similar measures.

  • Shibuya Ward, Tokyo(November, 2015)
  • Setagaya Ward, Tokyo(November, 2015)
  • Iga City, Mie Prefecture(April, 2016)
  • Takarazuka City, Hyogo Prefecture(June, 2016)
  • Naha City, Okinawa Prefecture(July, 2016)
  • Sapporo City, Hokkaido(June, 2017)
  • Fukuoka City, Fukuoka Prefecture(April, 2018)
  • Osaka City, Osaka Prefecture(July, 2018)
  • Nakano Ward, Tokyo(August, 2018)
  • Oizumi Town, Ouragun, Gunma Prefecture(January, 2019)
  • Chiba City, Chiba Prefecture(January, 2019)
  • Edogawa Ward, Tokyo(April, 2019)
  • Toshima Ward, Tokyo(April, 2019)
  • Fuchu City, Tokyo(April, 2019)
  • Yokosuka City, Kanagawa Prefecture(April, 2019)
  • Odawara City, Kanagawa Prefecture(April, 2019)
  • Sakai City, Osaka Prefecture(April, 2019)
  • Hirakata City, Osaka Prefecture(April, 2019)
  • Soja City, Okayama Prefecture(April, 2019)
  • Kumamoto City, Kumamoto Prefecture(April, 2019)

As one can see, the above list includes large cities with a population of more than one million (Osaka, Sapporo and Fukuoka), a small town (Oizumi), as well as a very small city with a population of less than 0.1 million (Iga). This means that the scale of local government is not a factor when it comes to publicly recognizing same-sex couples and introducing special partnerships.

Partnership certificates

total 426

Hokkaido
Sapporo City, Hokkaido65
Kanto Region
Shibuya Ward, Tokyo33
Setagaya Ward, Tokyo89
Nakano Ward, Tokyo23
Oizumi Town, Ouragun, Gunma Prefecture0
Chiba City, Chiba Prefecture29
Fuchu City, Tokyo1
Toshima Ward, Tokyo2
Edogawa Ward, Tokyo2
Odawara City, Kanagawa Prefecture0
Yokosuka City, Kanagawa Prefecture3
Kinki Region
Iga City, Mie Prefecture5
Takarazuka City, Hyogo Prefecture4
Osaka City, Osaka Prefecture100
Sakai City, Osaka Prefecture2
Hirakata City, Osaka Prefecture1
Chugoku Region
Soja City, Okayama Prefecture1
Kyushu Region
Fukuoka City, Fukuoka Prefecture38
Kumamoto City, Kumamoto Prefecture0
Okinawa Prefecture
Naha City, Okinawa Prefecture28

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