Same-sex couples in Japan launch Valentine’s Day bid for marriage equality

Five lesbian and eight gay couples seek damages from government for denying them same rights as heterosexual spouses

Chizuka Oe and Yoko Ogawa have been together for 25 years, but when they submitted their marriage registration at a Tokyo town hall they knew it would be rejected.

“We were told that they cannot accept our registration because we are both women,” said Ogawa, standing in the winter sun outside the building in Nakano in western Tokyo. “There were several heterosexual couples next to us who submitted marriage registrations without any problem.”

Related: Japanese women push back against Valentine's tradition of 'obligation chocolate'

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