Russia's highest court has dismissed a challenge to a controversial law which bans “gay propaganda” to minors.

According to RIA Novosti, Russia's Constitutional Court dismissed a complaint filed by prominent LGBT rights activist Nikolai Alexeyev against a law approved last year in the city of St. Petersburg.

Russia's nationwide law was modeled after legislation first approved in St. Petersburg.

Alexeyev argued that the law was discriminatory.

However, the court opined that legislators had a duty to “take measures to protect children from information, propaganda and campaigns that can harm their health and moral and spiritual development” and rejected claims that the law was discriminatory, saying that it applied equally regardless of sexual orientation.

The ruling, made public on Tuesday, was handed down on October 24.

Alexeyev and fellow activists have been fined under the law for holding signs in public that read “Homosexuality is not a perversion, unlike grass hockey or ice ballet” and “Gay propaganda doesn't exist. People don't become gay, people are born gay.”

Russia's nationwide ban has drawn international condemnation and calls for a boycott of the Winter Olympics to take place next year in Sochi.