Montenegro’s parliament has voted to legalise same-sex civil partnerships, becoming the first European country outside of Western Europe and the European Union to legally recognise gay and lesbian couples.
The law squeaked through the legislature with 42 votes in the 81-seat parliament. It had been previously rejected in July 2019.
The vote in the Balkan country, which is in advanced negotiations to join the European Union, was welcomed by its leaders on Twitter as affirming “European values”.
“A great step in the right direction for (Montenegro) society, its democratic maturity and integration processes,” Prime Minister Dusko Markovic tweeted.
Montenegro “is one step closer to joining the most developed world democracies,” President Milo Dukanovic said on Twitter. “Born free and equal in dignity and rights!”
The country, with a population of about 620,000 people, becomes the 32nd United Nations member to recognise some form of civil partnership for same-sex couples. Gay and lesbian couples can marry in 28 U.N. countries.