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Slovenia has introduced a law on same-sex partnership that grants legal rights to gay unions.

The law stops short of allowing gay couples to adopt or undergo in-vitro fertilization.

Measures formally came into effect Friday after they were approved last year. Same-sex unions now enjoy the same legal protection as married couples in areas including social and health care benefits.

Simon Maljevac from the LGBT group Legebitra, described the law as “a step in right direction.”

The head of the unit in charge of weddings in Slovenia’s second largest city Maribor, Ksenija Klampfer, told Reuters the first lesbian wedding would take place there on Saturday.

“We are very happy and proud that we will perform the first same-sex wedding. We believe that such marriages are an important step towards formation of an inclusive society where people have equal rights,” Klampfer said.

Though Slovenia is among the most liberal eastern European countries, gay rights remain a contentious topic in the predominantly Roman Catholic nation of 2 million.



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