FUKUOKA – The city of Fukuoka said Wednesday it will start recognizing partnerships of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender couples in April, becoming the seventh municipality to do so despite the absence of such a system at the national level.
Under the new plan, the city will issue papers authenticating partnership oaths submitted by sexual minority couples. Unlike official marriages, the recognition does not entail legal rights or obligations but is expected to be used when couples rent city-run housing or undergo medical treatment requiring the consent of a family member at city hospitals.
Tokyo’s Shibuya and Setagaya wards became the first local governments in the nation to recognize same-sex partnerships in 2015 followed by the cities of Iga, Takarazuka and Naha. Sapporo followed suit last June.
Sapporo and Fukuoka also recognize opposite sex couples on the official family registry where one, or even both, person’s gender identity does not match their sex …