Sapporo, Japan – After the U.S. Supreme Court ruled for marriage equality, everyone expected countries around the world to follow suit. Few have. A court ruling today in Japan, however, may lead to marriage equality in that country.

The Sapporo District Court ruled that failure to recognize same-sex marriages is unconstitutional. In its decision, the court wrote that since sexuality is not a matter of preference, denying same-sex couples the same rights as opposite-sex couples is unconstitutional.

The lawsuit was brought by three couples that each sued for 1 million yen (under $10,000) for psychological damage caused by the government’s refusal to let them marry. Although the court ruled they had the right to marry, the monetary award was denied. The couples said they would appeal. This is the first time a Japanese court has ruled on the issue. The ruling doesn’t legalize same-sex marriage but does send the message to lawmakers that preventing same-sex couples from marrying is unconstitutional. (Dallas Voice – David Taffet at