Lawmakers in Slovakia, an EU member state, have rejected plans by the country’s opposition party to legalise civil partnerships for gay couples.

Reuters reported on Tuesday the defeat came after two days of heated debate.

Only 14 of 129 MPs present voted to send the bill to a second reading, 94 were against and 20 abstained.

The current bill was introduced by Freedom and Solidarity Party (SAS) in August of this year.

Last month the ruling party Direction – Social Democracy announced that it would vote against the measure.

Previous attempts to implement civil partnership legislation were made in 1997 and in 2000.

Public opinion has shifted in Slovakia in the past few years, becoming more favourable to granting union rights to same-sex couples

Earlier this year, a poll showed 47% of Slovakians supported civil partnerships, with 38% against.

However, the support was based on the notion that civil partnership legislation would continue to exclude gay couples from being able to adopt children.

In 2010, the country’s first gay pride parade through the city centre of Bratislava had to be cancelled, after violence by far-right Neo Nazi groups, many of whom used tear gas and pelted those taking part with rocks.