Same-sex couples in Hokkaido have appealed a high court ruling from earlier this month that recognized Japan's lack of legal recognition of same-sex marriage as unconstitutional but denied them damages for emotional distress.

The appeal, filed with the Supreme Court on Monday, comes after the Sapporo High Court upheld a lower court's landmark verdict in 2021 that said nonrecognition of same-sex marriage violates the right to equality protected under the Constitution but rejected a claim for damages totaling ¥6 million ($39,700) sought by three same-sex couples, who cited emotional suffering.

Eri Nakaya, 32, one of the plaintiffs, said: "If we back out now, legal recognition will not be achieved in the foreseeable future. I hope the Supreme Court will also declare (the same-sex marriage ban) unconstitutional."