The Constitutional Court in Karlsruhe on Friday dismissed on procedural grounds a request from a Berlin district court to rule on whether gay couples living in a registered civil partnership could adopt children.
The judges said the submission from the court in Berlin's Schöneberg precinct failed to sufficiently provide reasons and therefore did not meet the formal requirements of Germany's top court.
The case was introduced by a gay couple who want to adopt their two former foster children, who are now adults. A district court had stayed the proceedings in March 2013 and submitted the case to the court in Karlsruhe.
Just last year the same court overturned a ban on so-called "successive adoptions" for gay couples in civil partnerships.
Under the ruling, if one partner has adopted a child, the other partner now has the right to become the adoptive mother or father of that child as well. Until now, they could only adopt their partner's biological child.
The February 2013 ruling said that same-sex couples could provide for a child as well as couples in a traditional marriage.
Germany legalized civil partnerships in 2001 but has not yet moved to allow same-sex marriage.
hc/ipj (AFP, dpa, KNA)