Japan elects gay lawmaker who is ‘sure’ marriage equality will happen
Taiga Ishikawa became Japan’s first openly gay male lawmaker in the National Diet on Sunday (July 21), and he has said that he is “sure” same-sex marriage will be legalised in the country.
The National Diet is Japan’s legislature and is comprised of the lower house, or house of representatives, and the upper house, or house of councillors.
Japan’s Liberal Democratic Party of Japan (LDP), the party that has almost always been in power since its creation in 1955, is opposed to same-sex marriage.
Ishikawa is a member of the left of centre Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan (CDPJ), which Japan’s first trans assemblywoman is also a member of.
The 45-year-old LGBT+ activist and politician told Reuters on Tuesday: “Since the early 2000s, the issue of same-sex marriage has progressed leaps and bounds.
“It will happen within the six years of my term, I am sure.”
He added: “It has been incredibly empowering to the Japanese LGBT community to see the growing acceptance overseas of same-sex marriage.
“I think we’ve got a breakthrough now and I plan to move the conversation [on same-sex marriage] forward.”
Taiga Ishikawa said his election into the National Diet proves public support for marriage equality
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Ishikawa’s campaign was based on the legalisation of same-sex marriage, and he told The Asahi Shimbun that his election proves public support for marriage equality in Japan.
He said: “I was calling for the acknowledgement of LGBT people in the election. A lot of people all over Japan plucked up their courage to vote for me. This acknowledges that we are here.”
Japan’s population is becoming more accepting of LGBT+ people, and earlier this year a survey conducted by Dentsu showed that 78.4 percent of Japanese people approved of same-sex marriage.
However legislature is being slow to catch up with changing attitudes, and this year 11 LGBT+ couples sued the government, arguing that Japanese same-sex couples’ inability to marry in the country violates their constitutional right to equality and freedom of marriage.
The country provides little protection against discrimination because of sexual orientation or gender identity.