In a big step forward for the LGBTQ community, Montenegro’s parliament has voted to legalise same-sex partnerships.

Reuters reports that the proposal was rejected by the parliament in 2019, but this time was narrowly approved by 42 votes in the 81-seat legislature.

Montenegro is on the pathway to becoming part of the European Union. Legal recognition of same-sex relationships will help that process.

The new legislation will come into effect some time in 2021, once the necessary administrative provisions have been put in place.

What’s life like for LGBTQ people in Montenegro?

While Montenegro is a socially conservative country, there has been slow but steady progress for LGBTQ people living there.

Homosexuality was decriminalised in 1977 – the age of consent was also equalised at this time.

There are anti-discrimination and hate-crime protections in place, but it’s believed that discrimination or harassment often goes unreported.

While legal recognition of same-sex couples will be a big step forward, any thoughts of Marriage Equality are a considerable way off. The country’s constitution explicitly limits marriage to being between opposite-sex couples.

Religion plays a big part in the day-to-day life of people in Montenegro. The Serbian Orthodox Church plays a powerful role in shaping public opinion.

The first LGBTQ Pride event in Montenegro was held in 2013. There have been small Pride events held in subsequent years which appear to encounter little opposition or criticism.

Things seem to be slowly getting better in Montenegro.