The Sapporo High Court on Thursday ruled that a ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional, with strong phrasing that is expected to pressure the government and lawmakers for action.

It is the first time a high court has handed down a ruling that said Japan's ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional.

The high court judgment followed a similar ruling at the Tokyo District Court earlier on Thursday, which said that the ban on same-sex marriage is in a “state of unconstitutionality” due to the lack of legal protections for same-sex couples. The Tokyo court, however, stopped short of issuing a stronger “unconstitutional” verdict.