Czech Republic’s historic vote on same-sex marriage took place on Thursday (April 29) and was passed in the lower house of parliament.

The bill, which has been postponed for three and a half years since it was first drafted, according to Kafkadesk publication, was narrowly passed last week.

Voting for the same-sex marriage legislation was live-streamed to significantly empty turnout.

The new bill will be debated by the head committee and then subjected to a final vote.

The same-sex legislation adapts Czech Republic’s existing Civil Code, which says marriage is between “a man and a woman” to “two persons”.

The proposed amendment was supported by 41 MPs out of a total of 93 present.

A bill challenging the proposed same-sex marriage legislation was only successful in passing the lower house of parliament, Thomas Reuters Foundation reports.

The newly passed counter-effort rejects same-sex marriage and aims to preserve Czech Republic’s current Constitution. It calls to have the right of marriage, defined as a union between a man and a woman, protected by law.

Same-sex couples have been able to enter into registered partnerships since 2006, but cannot be legally married.

President Milos Zeman has promised to veto the same-sex marriage bill if it is passed. Local Czech media reported Zeman stood firmly against the cause and argued marriage was for families to raise children.

Talking to reporters from TV Barrandov, the President states he did not have an anti-LGBTQ agenda, but believed homosexual couples could not bring up children which is why he and the state, are backing heterosexual marriages, according to Kafkadesk.

Jsme Fér, a campaign advocating for full equality of LGBT people in the Czech Republic, reports 67% of Czechs are in favour of same-sex marriage equality.

Prior to vote last Thursday, the historic moment was recognised by the European Parliament’s Intergroup on LGBTI rights.

The EU forum issued a statement expressing the importance of the Czech Republic bill.

“The bill legalising marriage equality in the Czech Republic will strengthen societal cohesion by granting equal rights for all its citizens, including the right to form a family with a loved one and to have it recognised by the state,” the statement read.

Adding, “Extending marriage to all couples in a spirit of support and acceptance can galvanise equality for all citizens of the Czech Republic and further define it as a country where the rights of lesbian, gay and bisexual persons are supported, respected and defended.

“We thank the Members of the Chamber of Deputies of Parliament of the Czech Republic for their consideration, deliberation and vote on this bill, which is of utmost importance for us.”

The same-sex marriage bill now has to successfully secure enough votes to pass the upper chamber, the Senate, and must be signed by the president (President Milos Zeman) to become law.