Lesbian couple marries in Japan amid calls for legal recognition for same-sex marriage

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A lesbian couple has married in Japan, despite that the country does not currently recognise same-sex marriages.

Actresses Ayaka Ichinose, 34, and Akane Sugimori, 28, both wore white at their wedding in front of around 80 guests.

The couple told the press afterwards that they hoped their wedding would inspire others to do the same, in a hope that Japan will legislate for same-sex marriage soon.

They also said they would attempt to register their marriage at the municipal office, but know their application is likely to be rejected.

Two districts in Tokyo earlier this year announced that same-sex couples could register for “partnership” certificates, allowing symbolic recognition of their relationship. 

One official responsible for drafting the Shibuya District plans said they would encourage businesses and hospitals to recognise the partnerships of gay couples, despite the certificates only holding symbolic significance.

The legal recognition of same-sex relationships is currently banned in Japan, as the country’s constitution defines marriage as “a union based on the mutual consent of parties from both sexes.”

This means the certificates would not be legally binding, but are more a symbolic gesture.