Slovenia has become the first country in Eastern Europe to legalize same-sex marriage, following a vote in the country’s Parliament on Tuesday.
Forty-eight members of Parliament voted in favor of a family law amendment that allows same-sex couples to marry and adopt children. Twenty-nine legislators opposed the amendment and one abstained from voting, Euronews reports.
The amendment follows a July ruling in the country’s highest court, which determined that Slovenia’s law defining marriage as a union between a man and woman discriminated against same-sex individuals. It then gave the government six months in which to amend the discriminatory articles.
Before presenting the amendment to the Parliament members, Slovenia’s State Secretary Simon Maljevac said that “With these changes, we are recognising the rights of same-sex couples that they should have had for a long time,” Euronews reports.
The change has been criticized by the government’s main opposition, the Slovenian Democratic Party.
While most countries in Western Europe have legalized same-sex marriage and family rights, Eastern Europe has been less accepting toward LGBTQ+ rights in general. Only a few countries – including Croatia, the Czech Republic, and Montenegro – recognize same-sex civil unions.
While Hungary also recognizes same-sex civil unions, the country’s conservative government has cracked down on LGBTQ+ rights in recent years with legislation that effectively bans same-sex adoption and legal recognition of gender identity change.
In 2021, following the publication of an inclusive fairytale book by the rights organization Labrisz, the government also passed an anti-LGBTQ+ “propaganda” law, which bans discussions of sexual orientation and gender identity in schools and restricts the sale of LGBTQ+ material in bookstores.