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Chiba 1st Japanese city to recognize LGBT couples, common-law marriage

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Same-sex marriages are illegal in Japan and couples say they face discrimination, such as the inability to inherit property from their partner without a will or to benefit from income tax deductions for spouses.

So the city is going against the national laws. Give them credit for doing so, hopefully this gets the national government a kick in the arse to change these archaic laws!

4 ( +14 / -10 )

Equal rights seem like a no-brainer. Well done Chiba.

4 ( +14 / -10 )

One more city joining the present ! Good for them !

3 ( +10 / -7 )

Agree with the above. Well done Chiba!

2 ( +10 / -8 )

Chiba should also recognize traditional Mormon and African polygamous marriages as well.

It's wrong to deny consenting adults the right to love each other.

-8 ( +9 / -17 )

I strongly disagree with this decision. I would feel better about some kind of union with the same benefits, but without the word "marriage" used at all.

-14 ( +5 / -19 )

Same-sex couples do not have the same legal benefits as married couples. However, no other non-marital relationships between individuals—two sisters , a pair of spinsters, college roommates, et al.—share those benefits, either. Why should they? If same-sex couples face inequality in this area, so does every other pair of unmarried citizens who have deep, loving commitments to each other. Why should same-sex couples receive preferential treatment just because they are sexually involved?

-14 ( +5 / -19 )

So the city is going against the national laws

No. Chiba isn't recognizing same-sex marriages, it is recognizing same-sex partnerships and common law partnerships. If Chiba were going against national laws, it would be recognizing same-sex marriages.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

I strongly disagree with this decision. I would feel better about some kind of union with the same benefits, but without the word "marriage" used at all.

Well, that's too bad for you, because the world is not going in that direction at all.

7 ( +14 / -7 )

Same-sex couples do not have the same legal benefits as married couples. However, no other non-marital relationships between individuals—two sisters , a pair of spinsters, college roommates, et al.—share those benefits, either. Why should they? If same-sex couples face inequality in this area, so does every other pair of unmarried citizens who have deep, loving commitments to each other. Why should same-sex couples receive preferential treatment just because they are sexually involved?

Um, in that scenario, the same-sex couples are not the ones receiving preferential treatment, hetrosexual couples are, as they are the only ones receiving this benefit. Why should they be the only ones?

And are you really not able to see a difference between a relationship based on attraction between lovers, and the attraction between friends and the attraction between family? They may all share the word 'love', but that is a failing of the English language to have better suited words to express these differences. Living with a best friend is not the same commitment as being with someone you love and are committed to for the rest of your life. And both same-sex and heterosex couples (who want to marry) share that love that leads to wanting a lifetime commitment, while friendships don't. Families might... it's interesting to consider say a pair of sibling that decide to spend the rest of their lives together, rather than with partners - should they not receive the same benefits as a couple who chooses to spend their lives together?

4 ( +7 / -3 )

If Chiba were going against national laws, it would be recognizing same-sex marriages.

The problem here is that the city is recognizing same-sex marriages. They are simply disingenuously not using the word “marriage.”

-13 ( +2 / -15 )

Traditionally, there has been far more tolerance for LGBT people in Japan than the West, who have Christian traditions condemning them. I have never heard of violence against an LGBT person in Japan, compared to Western nations.

So if this “common law marriage” gives a big boost the cities economy (through huge weddings, honeymoons, joint house purchases etc) it is probably a good thing. However, legally, family registers will not change.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

Traditionally, there has been far more tolerance for LGBT people in Japan than the West, who have Christian traditions condemning them.

Traditionally, it's been a don't ask don't tell situation. If you tell, there is little tolerance. If you keep your mouth shut, they will tolerate you.

Whether that's better than in the west where you get both extreme tolerance as well as extreme hatred... hard to say.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

The problem here is that the city is recognizing same-sex marriages. They are simply disingenuously not using the word “marriage.”

No, it isn't. There is no requirement for these couples to get married.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Chiba is not recognizing same-sex common law marriages; it is recognizing same-sex partnerships and common law marriages of heterosexuals.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

...in that scenario, the same-sex couples are not the ones receiving preferential treatment, hetrosexual couples are, as they are the only ones receiving this benefit. Why should they be the only ones?

Please read my post again. Same-sex pairings were included in the scenario, e.g. two spinners.

...should they not receive the same benefits as a couple who chooses to spend their lives together?

No. Due to them not being married.

There is no obligation for government to give every human coupling the same preferential treatment. The unique benefits of marriage fit its unique purpose. Marriage is not meant to be a shortcut to tax cuts and insurance benefits. It’s meant to build families...a union of a man and a woman who may or may not have children.

-9 ( +3 / -12 )

I like that they are also recognizing heterosexual couples who won't get married.

The all male courts here have upheld the law that married couples must share one name, which causes no end of headaches for scientists, athletes, and academic couples. You get invited to present at a conference or be guest speaker at an event overseas and immigration won't let you in because the name on the passport and the name on the event promotional materials don't match. Just stupid little things like this that happen all the time but people who don't live it don't think about it.

Hurrah for Chiba. Now can some of you city council folk run for national office, please?

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Good for Chiba City! And congratulations to the six couples, and any more who take that step in the future.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Wll done, Chiba.

Bugle boy:

I strongly disagree with this decision.

Tough! Deal with it. Next, they're going to force you to marry someone of the same gender. Boo!!!!

5 ( +10 / -5 )

Marriage is not meant to be a shortcut to tax cuts and insurance benefits. 

Then don't give married couples tax cuts or insurance benefits.

It’s meant to build families...a union of a man and a woman who may or may not have children.

Meant to build a family with no children? LOGIC FAILURE! If children aren't the point, then surely same-sex couples are also building a family.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Same-sex couples do not have the same legal benefits as married couples. However, no other non-marital relationships between individuals—two sisters , a pair of spinsters, college roommates, et al.—share those benefits, either. Why should they? If same-sex couples face inequality in this area, so does every other pair of unmarried citizens who have deep, loving commitments to each other. Why should same-sex couples receive preferential treatment just because they are sexually involved?

This just sounds like an argument for the abolition of opposite sex marriage.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

"I strongly disagree with this decision. I would feel better about some kind of union with the same benefits, but without the word "marriage" used at all."

Words only have power that you give them. Just think of it as something different in your mind. Most people are okay with it. You are the one that needs to change how you view this.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

Good to see this, for common law couples too.

I reckon one of the barriers for further progress here is the support that the Japanese government gives to heterosexual couples on the assumption that that's how you help children. The government needs to abandon the idea that having children is the only reason to get married. If you want to help children, help children. It doesn't matter if they have one or two carers who are married or not married. It is long outdated to assume every housewife must have kids or is trying to have them. Help parents, not housewives.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

Chiba should also recognize traditional Mormon and African polygamous marriages as well.

It's wrong to deny consenting adults the right to love each other.

Foolish argument-no one is talking about multiple wives, husbands or partners, but nice try.

7 ( +10 / -3 )

Wonderful! Good on Chiba!

A lot of western conservatives have this idea that Japan is the last true bastion of a conservative heaven, and often scream about western cultures forcing their '' agenda '' on Japan, so whenever Japan takes a step towards being more progressive, it is quite a treat seeing them getting all bent out of shape.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

This is great news. Regardless of what someone’s stance may be, we should always fight for the rights of others. The moment we take away the rights of others means it becomes that much easier for all of our rights to be taken away.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

I have been living with my Japanese common-law wife 20 years, we produced 3 Japanese national children all doing great. Wife is senior midwife gynecology nurse at a hospital in Ebisu. I've been in Japan since 1970's worked for JAL many years, Paramount & Universal, been recruiting since 1990 have helped hundreds of Japanese with their careers and STILL immigration won't give me PM or even 5 year visa and asks, Why aren't you married? Gimme a break

0 ( +3 / -3 )

@ Pukey2Today  10:09 am JST

good one!

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I'm gay, and when i lived in East London, my life was hell at first. but when Hackney became cool and gay friendly, my flat tripled in price and my life was exceptional.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I thought Chiba was a prefecture.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

There you go, there also a Chiba-shi. But it's not the first city to recognise partnerships right?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@Goodluck - I saw your post and glad things turned positive for you. I think this type of legislation not only reinvigorates communities as you rightfully pointed out but also benefits society as a whole. I think you pointed out one of many intangible benefits of this type of legislation.

The fact is gay couples which formally declare the relationship or decide to marry (when the law allows) have an equal or likely a better chance of staying together than a heterosexual couple. Having a committed partner (regardless of sexual orientation) to support the other partner means that the couple is more likely to take care of each other in difficult times which removes a burden from society as a whole.

I believe that so much time is wasted arguing over this issue when the simple answer is to allow same sex marriages across the board and treat them equally (both the good and the bad) and then government and people can spend time on other issues which need attention. In the 21st Century there is no rational reason at all to discriminate against homosexual couples.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Very good for Chiba city!!.. And for the "narrow minded little alpha males" criticizing this, let me tell you something: How fragile is your masculinity so that it bothers you as how the others live???!!!... Stop being so medieval and learn to live and let live !!..

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Words only have power that you give them. Just think of it as something different in your mind. Most people are okay with it. You are the one that needs to change how you view this.

I agree! Whenever I meet a same-sex couple who says they are married, I will explain that they are, in fact, not, but have a legally recognized union, because marriage is between a man and a woman.

I will also refuse any service that is limited to married people only, but it is really a moot point, because there are virtually no services that are limited to married couples, yet exclude non-married couples.

But back to your excellent point, to the word "marry" (and its other forms) I will use it with the meaning as it always has been, the union between a man and a woman, and I will not respond to its use in any incorrect way. No government can mandate an improper use of words simply because some people want to twist the meaning of something for their own benefit.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

day  09:15 am JST

Traditionally, there has been far more tolerance for LGBT people in Japan than the West, who have Christian traditions condemning them.

That is absolutely false.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

"Chiba's certificate program does not confer special legal status on recipients..."

All I wanted to know, since I figured this would be the case. Guys, while you can call it a step forward, I'm afraid it's largely just more lip service. It's not a marriage, it's a common-law partnership. Now, while those partnerships DO entitle partners to many legal options should they break up, it does not here, at least not to the same extent, and the couple still can't do things that those in a legally recognized MARRIAGE can. Now, if and when they change the law so that it is no longer illegal in Japan to have same sex marriage, THEN I'll truly congratulate them.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Chiba should also recognize traditional Mormon and African polygamous marriages as well.

One reason for not doing so is that it gets complicated. Is a polygamous marriage multiple partnerships between a man and multiple wives? Or is it a single partnership among all participants?

I would feel better about some kind of union with the same benefits, but without the word "marriage" used at all.

I tend to agree but perhaps for different reasons. My general view is that there should be no legal recognition of "marriage", only of civil partnerships between two individuals. The meaning of marriage can be debated until the cows come home.

Living with a best friend is not the same commitment as being with someone you love and are committed to for the rest of your life.

Who's to say? Having love and commitment defined by law seems bizarre. Thus my thought that people should be able to enter a civil partnership with anyone, and for any reason (assuming mutual consent). It's up to the couple if they want to describe themselves as married,

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Traditionally, there has been far more tolerance for LGBT people in Japan than the West, who have Christian traditions condemning them. I have never heard of violence against an LGBT person in Japan, compared to Western nations.

They have a thing called Confucian tradition. For example, the five relationships one of them being husband and wife.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Well, that's too bad for you, because the world is not going in that direction at all.

that doesn't make it right!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

You’re right, that doesn’t make it right. It was already the right thing to do before that. People just finally came to realize that.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

You’re right, that doesn’t make it right. It was already the right thing to do before that. People just finally came to realize that.

it was never the right hint to do.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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