Sapporo became the first major city in Japan to recognize gay and lesbian partnerships.
The northern Japanese city is known for its progressive streak—certifying partnerships between heterosexual couples where one person is transgender. It now joins only a small district in Tokyo as the only places on the archipelago to have some semblance of marriage equality.
“I am delighted,” a 32-year-old woman said. “I was finally able to do it. It may be self-satisfaction but I want other people to use the system without caring what people around them think as they can become happy.”
While the “marriages” do not guarantee full legal recognition, the certificate allows couples to collect life insurance money and “use family-member discounts for mobile phone and other services.”