Same-sex love and legal partnerships have gained a win within the country of Montenegro.
According to Euronews, Montenegro has become the first European country in the Western Balkans and outside of the EU to legalize same-sex unions. This policy change was caused by forty-two MPs voting to pass a new bill that gives same-sex couples equal rights to straight couples. That is, unfortunately, except for the right to adopt children, which is still only granted to straight couples.
— US Embassy Podgorica (@USEmbassyMNE) July 1, 2020
This new bill is the result of a four-year promise to bring same-sex unions and legal partnerships to the country. Back in 2016, Pride organizers, LGBTQ organizations, and some politicians announced plans to push for the policy change. The prime incentive for the change is the desire to join the European Union. It’s believed that increasing minority rights policies will increase a country’s chance of joining the EU.
Then in 2019, the first draft of the bill was submitted and rejected. This rejection was due to heavy resistance by the Serbian Orthodox Church, the largest religious community in the country. Despite religious opposition, the government continued to push for same-sex partnerships.
I welcome the adoption of the Law on Same Sex Life Partnership in 🇲🇪 Parliament!
A great step in the right direction for MNE society, its democratic maturity & integration processes. Equality & same rights for all are the cornerstone of human and European values. #LGBTIQ (1/2) pic.twitter.com/0kJ0Xn1Vtt
— Duško Marković (@DuskoMarkovicCG) July 1, 2020
After the bill was approved by the Parliament of Montenegro, Prime Minister Dusko Markovic described the move as, “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 a European Montenegro,” he added.
President Milo Djukanovic noted on Twitter that the law has placed Montenegro “one step closer to joining the most developed world democracies.”
Meanwhile, John M. Barac, the executive director for Montenegro’s LGBTQ rights groups the LGBT Forum Progress said to Out Magazine, “With this law, same-sex couples in Montenegro are going to be recognised within the legal system for the first time. Furthermore, same-sex couples will be brought one step closer to actual equality with heterosexual couples and be granted dignity and respect that they didn’t have until now in that context.”