Germany's top court decided on Friday against giving gay couples in a registered civil partnership the right to adopt children.
A Berlin district court had called on the Constitutional Court to rule on the case concerning a gay couple who had wanted to adopt their two adult former foster children.
Judges at the Karlsruhe-based court said the submission did not meet the formal requirements and dismissed the case, without commenting on the issues surrounding it.
There are no other cases involving gay adoptions before the Constitutional Court.
The decision follows a landmark ruling by the court last year, in which it granted those living in civil partnerships the same legal rights as married couples when it comes to adopting the biological children of one of the partners.
Until now, the court has helped to spearhead the drive to bolster the rights of gay couples in the country, with the court also ruling in 2013 that they should enjoy the same tax breaks as their heterosexual counterparts.
This has forced Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative-Christian Democrats to lay aside its opposition to bringing same-sex partnerships into line with heterosexual relationships by introducing legislation into parliament to back up the court's decisions.
The judges called on the government to amend laws dating back to August 2001, which was when civil partnerships were introduced in the country. - Sapa-dpa