| TOKYO – Japan has granted diplomatic status to the gay Brazilian husband of an American diplomat. Although Japan does not recognize homosexual marriage, in an unprecedented case, Tokyo has given a diplomatic visa to Emerson Kanegusuke, 39, the husband of the United States Consul General for Osaka-Kobe, Patrick Joseph Linehan, 59.
With the arrival of the Barack Obama administration in 2008, Washington began to give equal treatment to homosexual couples. Although the United States does not recognize gay marriage by law – only six states and the District of Columbia allow homosexual unions – the American government began to officially recognize the partners of diplomats as a family member.
“So, when we moved here, Japan accepted me as a ‘diplomat’, as requested by the U.S. government,” the Brazilian told BBC Brazil. The couple arrived in Japan in August last year.
To Councilman Waturu Ishizaka – who along with Taiga Ishikawa were the first openly gay politicians elected in 2011 – this was an important step in the recognition of gay rights in Japan.
Since July last year, the Brazilian government has followed the same protocol as the United States and Japan, accepting the same-sex spouses of diplomats as family members entitled to diplomatic status.
According to Patrick, the U.S. government supports and encourages public officials to assume their sexuality.
”Secretary (of State) Clinton said that ‘gay rights are a human rights issue’ and we have had great progress on equal rights because federal law has no limits,” the diplomat said.
The couple have been speaking to major newspapers and local TV stations in Japan about their status. They were also featured in the Osaka Gay Pride Parade, in late 2011, and will participate in the Gay Pride Parade in Tokyo next April.
Emerson was born and raised in the ABC region of Sao Paulo. He says he is a “typical Brazilian,” the son of Japanese immigrant on one side and Europeans, Indians and blacks on the other. He served in the Air Force and had a girlfriend at the time but was not happy. He later came to accept his homosexuality and marry Patrick.
Source(s) for this article: terra.com.br