Rahm Emanuel to speak at Tokyo's Rainbow Parade to promote LGBTQ rights

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 Rahm Emanuel to speak at Tokyo's Rainbow Parade to promote LGBTQ rights

Ambassador to Japan Rahm Emanuel said it is important to accept people of different sexual orientation and will attend Sunday's Rainbow Parade in Tokyo to drive home the point.

The ambassador, who has also worked to promote marriage equality in his own country, said that gays and lesbians should be acknowledged as part of an inclusive society.

He said that our goal is to create a society where everyone feels valued, everyone feels like they count, everyone feels like they can be a responsible member of the community, as the world faces other issues such as Russia's invasion of Ukraine and income inequality.

Two people that love each other, two people who are ready to make a commitment to create a home of love, he told Kyodo News on Friday. Emanuel said there are many people in the LGBTQ community who are family members and contribute to society in various roles, noting that sexual orientation is just part of their identity. Emanuel wants to stress what the U.S. values are, as an ambassador, and create a larger family and a sense of community by speaking at the march. Japan hasn't allowed marriage equality yet, but more than 140 municipal governments have introduced a system to recognize same-sex partnerships in order to reverse discrimination on issues such as social benefits.

Emanuel welcomed this, saying that although the pace is different than in the United States, the trajectory toward same-sex recognition and equality is the same.

He expects there to be a bottom-up change in politics, with local governments taking the first step towards same-sex recognition.

Japan is at the beginning of doing a bottom-up political change. He said that it will be felt nationally.

While he was mayor of Chicago, he pushed to legalize same-sex marriage in the state of Illinois in 2013. It became the law of the land when the Supreme Court ruled it a constitutional right in 2015.

Gay rights are not only a professional matter for him, but they are also personal. Former Congressman from Illinois and former President Barack Obama's White House chief of staff have a cousin who is gay. His best man when he married his wife Amy in 1994 was also gay.

He said that he envisions a day in which we don't talk about gay marriage and straight marriage. That's enough. Emanuel's defense of gay rights overseas is in line with President Joe Biden's fierce support for the LGBTQ community.

Biden signed an executive order protecting LGBTQ people against discrimination in schools, health care, workplace, and other sectors on his first day as president in January of last year.

A new State Department official was created as Special Envoy to Advance the Human Rights of LGBTQI Persons.