Protesters rally in front of the Liberal Democratic Party headquarters in central Tokyo on July 27, demanding the resignation of Mio Sugita as a Lower House lawmaker. (Kazuhiro Nagashima)

Ruling Liberal Democratic Party lawmaker Mio Sugita is facing a growing public outcry for writing that gay people have no "productivity" because they do not produce children.

Sugita, 51, has already received a death threat after voicing her thoughts on gay couples in the monthly magazine Shincho 45, which was published July 18.

A large number of protesters gathered in front of the LDP headquarters in central Tokyo on the evening of July 27 to demand her resignation as a Lower House member.

An organizer of the rally estimated that 5,000 people took part in the gathering.

Some protesters hoisted the rainbow flag favored by sexual minorities to celebrate diversity.

Others raised placards that read, “Don’t discriminate people based on productivity.”

One protester said, “Don't judge other people based on your own values.”

One protester, a woman in her 50s from Tsukuba, Ibaraki Prefecture, was brimming with anger.

“Anyone, including not only LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) but also the disabled and the elderly, are valuable as long as they are alive," she shouted. "You must not judge values of people based on productivity.”

LDP Secretary-General Toshihiro Nikai rallied to Sugita's side July 24, saying, “Each person has his or her own ideas on life.”

But the female protester was having none of it.

“We must not tolerate such values as anyone could be in a weak position,” she said.

Similar protest rallies were held in Fukuoka and Sapporo.

A group called “LGBT Jichitai Giin Renmei” (LGBT local assembly members federation), which works to protect the rights of sexual minorities, submitted a protest statement to the LDP headquarters on July 27.

It read, “(Sugita’s description) will promote discrimination and prejudice against LGBT people and deny those who don’t give birth, people who can’t give birth and people who are facing difficulties in becoming economically independent due to disabilities or diseases.”

Conservative individuals such as Nobukatsu Fujioka, a researcher on education, took issue with the criticism being leveled against Sugita.

“The word ‘productivity’ is not a word Sugita uses in her daily life," he said. "Quotation marks are used (for the word). It is only quoted as a word for discussions on policies. This is a false accusation based on the wrong way of reading what she wrote.”