France's top constitutional watchdog has upheld laws banning gay marriage.
However, though the Constitutional Council said the ban does not violate the constitution, it said it is up to the country's parliament to make laws.
The decision leaves an opening for amendments in the future - and hope for two women who had challenged the French civil code's stipulation that marriage must be between a man and a woman.
Corinne Cestino and Sophie Hasslauer, who have lived together for 15 years and have four children, have challenged the constitutionality of the country's law on banning gay marriage.
The couple and advocacy group Act Up Paris hoped France would soon join EU partners including Spain, Belgium and Netherlands that have legalised same-sex marriage.
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