Puerto Rico's highest court, the Supreme Tribunal, has rejected a challenge to an adoption ban for gay and lesbian couples.

According to El Vocero, the 9-member panel upheld the law with a narrow 5-4 decision.

The challenge comes in a case in which a Puerto Rican woman sought to adopt her partner's daughter.

According to the paper, current law only allows a gay couple to adopt if the biological mother gives up her rights to the child. However, this rule does not apply when the couple is heterosexual.

The court's majority determined that the law was constitutional because the territory's constitution “does not prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation,” El Nuevo Dia reported.

Gay blog Blabbeando translated a statement form Puerto Rican activist Pedro Julio Serrano criticizing the ruling.

“With this nefarious decision the Supreme Tribunal of Puerto Rico fails once again to live up to its constitutional obligation to grant justice to those who go to the courts as a last recourse in search of equality,” Serrano wrote. “This decision goes against the constitution. The constitution is clear: All citizens should be protected equally and their dignity should not be violated. This decision violates, threatens and challenges two of the highest protections in our Carta Magna. Once again the Supreme Tribunal has failed the people of Puerto Rico.”

Puerto Rican singer Ricky Martin also tweeted his disappointment: “So sad. I see this as turning our backs on childhood. So many orphans who want the warmth of 1 home.”