The first same-sex union has been officially recognised in Montenegro, a year after same-sex partnerships were legalised. 

According to a report from Radio Free Europe, Radio Liberty, the union took place in the city of Budva under the country’s Life and Partnership law.

The legislation was first passed in 2020 with over half of the country’s lawmakers voting in favour.

After passing the inclusive law, it became the first European country outside of Western Europe and the European Union to legally recognise same-sex unions.

Milijana Vukotic Jelusic, the municipal official in Budva, congratulated the two individuals in a statement to Vijesti newspaper. 

“We are glad that our municipality was able to be the first to apply the Law on Life Partnership and we wish them happiness and a lot of love to the partners in their life together,” she said.

The Minister of Public Administration, Digital Society and Media, Tamara Srzentic, also praised the newlyweds but said that “more needs to be done.”

“Although the law was adopted a year ago, much more needs to be done to meet all the preconditions for its full implementation,” she explained to Balkan Insight.

“The LGBTQ+ community will always have an ally in me for all activities that contribute to improving the quality of their life.”

Under the legislation, same-sex couples are given the right to be under each other’s health coverage and social security. It also allows for the division of joint property if a divorce were to take place. 

Unfortunately, queer couples are still not able to foster or adopt children in the country. 

Before the landmark law passed, the government had voted against same-sex unions in 2014 and 2019. 

This was due to the country’s current conservative and extremely religious views.

According to the Balkan Insight, a survey suggested that 71 percent of the Montenegro population labelled homosexuality as an illness. 

Aside from Montenegro, other Balkan states have been moving toward the acceptance of LGBTQ+ people. 

Parts of Bosnia and Herzegovina have been poised to start a consultation that could mean the government starts recognising same-sex relationships.

Related: UK Methodist Church to allow same-sex marriage following historic vote.