Spain’s Constitutional Court has upheld the country’s seven-year-long equal marriage law.

On Tuesday evening, it rejected an appeal by the ruling conservative Popular Party.

The party’s leader, Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, had previously said he supports civil unions for gay couples, but does not think they should be called marriages.

According to AFP, the court voted 8-3 to dismiss the appeal of the Popular Party.

In response, Justice Minister Alberto Ruiz Gallardon conceded that the court’s ruling had established a doctrine that was “binding” and his party would therefore make no changes to the legislation.

In its ruling, the court simply said it “rejected the appeal” by more than 50 members of the Popular Party who had argued the law was not constitutional.

Hours ahead of the decision, Mr Rajoy said his party had objected in particular to the use of the word “marriage”.

“We appealed not because the union of two people of the same sex would have legal effects, that did not matter to us,” he told Cope radio.

“The only thing we appealed was the name, that is to say the word ‘marriage’ was the reason for the appeal.”