A federal judge on Thursday ruled against a married lesbian couple who were rejected by a senior housing community in St. Louis, Missouri.

Mary Walsh and Bev Nance claim that Friendship Village at Sunset Hills told them that they would not accept them because it follows the “Biblical definition” of marriage and “defined marriage as between a man and a woman.”

The women, who married in 2009, filed a federal lawsuit against Friendship Village, which is not affiliated with or operated by a religious order. Friendship Village is the only such community in the area that offers increased levels of care without an increase in cost to residents.

The couple is represented by the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) and the ACLU of Missouri.

“Mary and Bev were denied housing for one reason and one reason only – because they were married to each other rather than men,” NCLR said in a statement in July. “This is exactly the type of sex discrimination the Fair Housing Act prohibits.”

U.S. District Judge Jean C. Hamilton ruled that Friendship Village had not violated the Fair Housing Act because the law does not prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation, the St. Louis Dispatch reported.

“Under [the] circumstances, the Court finds the claims boil down to those of discrimination based on sexual orientation rather than sex alone,” Hamilton said in his ruling.

NCLR disagreed with Hamilton's ruling in a statement.

“Planning for senior housing is a big decision, and Mary and Bev chose Friendship Village because it is in their community, they have friends there, and it offers services that would allow them to stay together there for the rest of their lives,” said Julie Wilensky, senior staff attorney at NCLR. “The discrimination they experienced was very hurtful. If Mary were a man married to Bev, instead of a woman married to Bev, Friendship Village would not have turned them away. This is a straightforward example of discrimination 'because of sex.' We disagree with the court's decision, and our clients are considering next steps.”