When Patrick Linehan, the U.S. consul general in Osaka and Kobe, attends a black-tie dinner party, like others he takes his spouse: in his case his husband, Emerson Kanegusuke, 40.

Linehan, 60, has been in his post, under the administration of Barack Obama, the first U.S. president to support gay marriage, since August 2011.

The couple attend official events and meetings with prefectural governors, encouraging those who are discriminated against for their sexual orientation, including gays and those with gender identity disorder.