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British Diplomats Exchange Vows at U.K. Embassy in Japan

British Diplomats Exchange Vows at U.K. Embassy in Japan


The latest marriage officiated at the British diplomatic mission to Japan just happened to be between two of the embassy's own staff members.

Tim Johnson, 51, and Ryan Parkins, 40, made their relationship legally binding last Friday. They were married inside the British Embassy in Tokyo, where each has worked since 2013, according to The Japan Times.

According to the Times, Japan's largest English-language newspaper, the ceremony was attended by 50 of the couple's close friends and relatives, as well as select Japanese officials, who were invited to show how Britain works toward greater inclusion and diversity.

But in true diplomatic form, the embassy employees couched the example of their nuptials with nuanced language in a statement sent to The Japan Times, explaining why they invited the Japanese media and political leaders.

"Each country must develop its LGBT policies at their own pace," said the statement sent to the newspaper in advance of the ceremony. "We've invited selected Japanese guests and media to our same-sex wedding so that Japan can see the U.K.'s policy of diversity and inclusion."

Johnson is a career diplomat, while Parkins is an embassy staffer. Their wedding was the fifth held at the U.K.'s Tokyo embassy.

Legislation passed more than 10 months ago allows same-sex ceremonies to be performed inside British foreign missions, even in countries where such unions are not recognized or are banned by the local government.

Same-sex marriage is not legal in Japan, which also does not recognize such unions performed on foreign soil.

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Thom Senzee