France's constitutional court upheld on Friday the country's ban on same-sex marriage.
A lesbian couple living with four children had challenged the law. But the Constitutional Council ruled that the law defining marriage as between a man and a woman is constitutional.
It also said that it is up to parliament to decide on any changes to the law.
Same-sex civil unions are allowed in France. Couples that enter civil unions become eligible to file joint tax returns and share insurance policies and employment benefits.
But they don't enjoy all the benefits that come with marriage, such as inheritance rights and joint custody of children.
The Constitutional Council noted in its ruling that the "difference in situations of same-sex couples and couples made up of a man and a woman can justify a difference in treatment concerning family rights," as reported by The Associated Press.
Same-sex marriage is currently legal in Argentina, Belgium, Canada, Iceland, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, South Africa, Spain and Sweden. It is also legal in five U.S. states and the District of Columbia.