In the first oral argument of an unprecedented trial challenging the constitutionality of Japan's same-sex marriage ban, LGBT couples spoke Monday of their experiences, aiming to highlight the social stigma and discrimination affecting their lives, and called for the government to recognize their right to marry.

Thirteen couples of various age groups, from their 20s to 60s, are participating in the suit against the central government, brought simultaneously to district courts nationwide on Valentine's Day. They are each seeking ¥1 million in compensation, with an additional payment worth 5 percent of the damages sought for each year until the damages payment is complete, as well as funds to cover litigation costs incurred during the process.

The couples argue the same-sex marriage ban is in violation of Article 24 of the Constitution, which guarantees the freedom to marry, as it states that "Marriage shall be based only on the mutual consent of both sexes."