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June 26, 2017

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Calls for same-sex marriage in Japan

TOKYO--Some 3,000 people marched in a gay pride parade in Tokyo on Sunday as calls grow for Japan to legalize same-sex marriage after a lesbian couple held a symbolic wedding ceremony.

The crowd, mainly from the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community as well as their supporters and sex workers, paraded through the capital's entertainment and shopping district of Shibuya.

Waving rainbow-colored flags and banners, foreign and Japanese campaigners marched in colorful carnival and kimono-clad "geisha" outfits.

The annual parade came a week after a lesbian couple tied the knot in front of some 80 relatives and friends in Shibuya, although their marriage is not legally recognized.

The Shibuya district council voted earlier this year to issue "partnership" certificates to gay couples, the first such recognition of same-sex unions in Japan. Other municipalities are now considering doing the same.

The certificate will carry only symbolic significance, since the Japanese constitution identifies marriage as a union based on mutual consent of the parties from "both sexes".

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