Montenegro voted to legalise same-sex civil partnerships on Wednesday, becoming the first European country outside of Western Europe and the European Union to legally recognise gay and lesbian couples.
Montenegro is considered a predominantly conservative and male-dominated society, where the LGBT+ community has often faced rejection and harassment, DW reports.
But the country’s government is currently undergoing advanced negotiations to join the EU. Boosting the rights of minority groups has been seen as necessary for the EU integration process.
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!”