Austria's Constitutional Court has ruled that gay couples have the same right as heterosexuals to adopt children.

Before the decision Wednesday, gay partners could adopt a child only if one of them was the child's biological parent.

Explaining the decision, chief judge Gerhart Holzinger says there is "no objective argument for a differing rule based solely on sexual orientation" of the parents.

He says the adoption restriction contravened anti-discrimination statutes of the European Human Rights Convention.

Gays still cannot marry in Austria, although couples formally registered as living together enjoy many of the rights that married heterosexual couples do.