Cyprus has passed a landmark law that would create civil partnerships for same-sex couples.
The Cypriot parliament voted in favour of the Civil Partnership Bill yesterday – the first time that the country has voted in favour of recognising same-sex marriage.
A large majority were in favour of the law – which proponents say offers much of the same benefits of marriage – with 39 MPs voting in favour and 12 against, with three abstentions.
However, some critics say the law does not go far enough, as it does not provide adoption rights to same-sex couples and is not as far-reaching as marriage.
European LGBT association ILGA-Europe said: “We very pleased that the bill has finally been approved.
“We congratulate all the civil society groups, political leaders and allies involved in this lengthy campaign for their persistence and dedication to equality.”
“This is not about giving one group ‘special rights’ but about recognising the wonderful diversity of families that live in Europe.”
ILGA-Europe Executive Director Evelyne Paradis said: “Same-sex couples and their families are just as deserving of protection as their heterosexual friends and neighbours.
Civil partnerships were first proposed in Cyprus in 2013, and the current bill marks the culmination of a two-year debate in the country.