After the Parliament legalized same-sex civil partnerships on Wednesday 1 July 2020, Montenegro is the first country in the region that is not a member of the European Union to recognise gay and lesbian couples in law. It was a very narrow majority of 42 to 5 in the 81-seat chamber of MPs from the ruling Democratic Party of Socialists, DPS, the Social Democrats, the Liberal Party and the opposition Social Democratic Party.
The new law recognizes same-sex couples as legal unions but does not give them the same rights as married couples. They are still not allowed to adopt or foster children, for example, which human rights organizations say restrict LGBT rights; same-sex couples are also not recognized as families.
LGBT activists praised the decision as a historic step for society. “From today we are one step closer to full freedom and full equality. As never before, we are close to life with dignity and from today we stopped living as second-class citizens,” the advocacy group Queer Montenegro said in a press release.