Thirteen Japanese gay couples filed lawsuits against the government, seeking recognition of their marriages. They said their constitutional right to equality has been violated, according to the New York Times.

Many asian countries are legalizing gay marriage, but Japan has yet to follow suit. Kenji aiba and his partner Ken Kozumi have held on to a wedding certificate they signed together, hoping Japan would recognize it, but they are still legally “just friends” though they’ve lived together for five years. 

“Right now we are both in good health and able to work, but what if either of us has an accident or becomes ill? We are not allowed to be each other’s guarantors for medical treatment, or to be each other’s heir,” Kozumi, 45 told the New York Times. “Progress in Japan has been too slow.”

Some cities have enacted partnership ordinances, so gay couples can rent apartments, but marriage is still reserved for a man and woman.