A Sapporo court ruled Wednesday that the government's failure to recognize same-sex marriage is unconstitutional in the country's first judicial ruling on marriage equality.

The ruling set a new precedent in the only Group of Seven nation not to fully recognize same-sex partnerships, though it rejected demands for damages to be paid. Still, it is a major symbolic victory for the LGBTQ community and activists in a country whose Constitution defines marriage as being based on "the mutual consent of both sexes."

The Sapporo District Court threw out the demand for damages by the six plaintiffs — two male couples and one female couple — who had asked that the government pay ¥1 million each due to the pain they suffered for not being able to legally marry.