The Republic of San Marino just passed civil union laws for same-sex couples.
Nestled within Italy, San Marino is the world’s smallest republic and has a population of just over 33,000 people.
The Grand and General Council governs the people of San Marino and yesterday (15 November) it began to discuss the proposed Regulation of Civil Unions.
It was the second reading, after the Commission for Constitutional and Institutional Affairs approved the draft on 27 September.
There are 14 articles in the law, but most notably one that states: ‘A civil union is a contract stipulated by two legal adults of the same-sex or of opposite sex in order to organize their life together as a couple.’
The law passed today (16 November) with 40 votes in favor, four votes against and four abstaining.
There is currently no date planned for the law to come into effect.
Marco Tonti from Arcigay told Gay Star News: ‘It is a historic step forward for San Marino since homosexuality had been criminalized until 2004.’
He then added: ‘There are still many civil rights missing from the appeal, such as the voluntary termination of pregnancy.’
Last year, San Marino scored fairly low on a list of 49 European countries ranked on rights for LGBTI people.
It came in at number 44, with only 12% of LGBTI rights.
In fact, San Marino only six years ago struck down a medieval law that forbade same-sex couples to live together.
The small independent country wouldn’t give visa rights to gay men and women living together as a couple.
The removal of the medieval law was an historic step forwards.
Michele Pazzini, secretary of the LGBT-San Marino association said at the time: ‘This is a little step towards the full recognition of same-sex couples.’
Many Italians want to live in San Marino because of the very low taxation of the republic.