By Julie Bolcer

Originally published on Advocate.com February 05 2010 10:00 AM ET

Gay rights advocates in Albania are welcoming the partial victory of an antidiscrimination law parliament passed Thursday. The law includes protections for LGBT people, but it drops a provision to legalize same-sex marriage that drew international attention this past summer.

According to Reuters, “The bill guarantees citizens against discrimination on grounds of gender, race, color, ethnicity, religion and sexual orientation, but has widely come to be known in Albania as the gay law because of the publicity [Prime Minister Sali] Berisha gave their cause.”

Religious groups successfully lobbied against the proposal to recognize same-sex marriage as part of the law, however.

“Approved by the ruling Democratic Party and its allies in parliament late on Thursday, the law does not allow same-sex marriage as promised by Prime Minister Sali Berisha,” reports Reuters. "Muslim, Orthodox and Catholic communities condemned the idea.”

The Alliance Against Discrimination, an Albanian gay rights group, hailed the antidiscrimination law as a strong start despite the loss of the marriage equality provision.

“This law is not simply a fulfillment of requirements that Albania has undertaken for European Union integration and visa liberalization,” said a statement issued by the group. “Above all, it is a victory for democracy and for human rights for all Albanians.”