PODGORICA -- Montenegro has passed a law allowing same-sex civil partnerships, in a move hailed by President Milo Djukanovic as "a step toward the family of most-developed democracies."
Forty-two lawmakers in the 81-seat parliament backed the Law On Same-Sex Partnership, which is to come into force in a year's time.
The law grants same-sex couples the same rights as heterosexuals, but without the possibility of adopting children.
It was previously rejected by parliament a year ago.
The vote in the Balkan country, which seeks to join the European Union, was welcomed by its political leaders and LGBT campaigners as affirming values such as tolerance.
The adoption of the law is “a confirmation that our society is maturing, accepting and living the differences,” Djukanovic posted on Twitter, while Prime Minister Dusko Markovic called it “a great step in the right direction for Montenegrin society, its democratic maturity, and integration processes.”
“There can be no room for discrimination based on sexual orientation in European Montenegro,” Markovic said.
The nongovernmental organization LGBT Forum Progres described the passage of the law as "an immense step forward for Montenegrin society.”
U.S. Ambassador to Podgorica Judy Rising Reinke also welcomed the “historic” move, calling it "an important step forward for equality and tolerance for all."
The law was backed in parliament by members of the ruling Democratic Party of Socialists and Social Democrats, as well as the opposition Social Democratic Party and an independent deputy.