The eastern European republic of Slovenia voted Tuesday to allow same-sex couples to marry and receive the same rights and benefits their opposite-sex counterparts receive, according to the Global Post.
"This amendment defines marriage as a lifelong community of two persons, regardless of their sex, eliminating the discriminative situation in force up to now," said a United Left legislator named Matej T. Vatovec, according to Global Post.
The Parliament's vote was 51-29, with five lawmakers abstaining. The bill was introduced by United Left, the leading opposition party. United Left was joined by a ruling-party coalition partner in supporting the legislation.
However, roughly 2,000 angry protestors gathered outside the Parliament building in Ljubljana, promising to overturn the bill by referendum before it could be enacted. Any such referendum would require the signatures of 40,000 constituents to be placed on the ballot, Global Post notes.
Nevertheless, supporters and well-wishers as far away as Washington, D.C., praised the elected officials for having the courage to pass the bill.
"We commend the elected representatives of Slovenia for passing such historic legislation ensuring the nation's LGBT citizens receive the rights they deserve, and we congratulate the LGBT activists and advocates who helped make this momentous day possible," said Ty Cobb, director of Human Rights Campaign Global in a written statement.