Croatia’s Parliament has passed a law allowing civil partnerships for same-sex couples.

It means same-sex couples will now enjoy equal inheritance rights, social benefits and tax deductions.

Their unions will be called ”life partnerships” protected by the Constitution.

However, adoption rights for same-sex couples was not included in the bill.

On Tuesday, the Parliament passed the civil union law with 89 votes in favour and 16 against.

The bill was drafted along the lines of its German counterpart, with political support mostly from centre-left and liberal parties in the Coalition Government.

Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic proposed the legislation saying he was determined to establish legal rights for same-sex couples.

In December last year, 65% of voters approved a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage.

Daniel Martinovic, of Zagreb Pride, recently said: “Although the law is a bit conservative and doesn’t enable adoption, it is essential for same-sex couples.

“It gives couples legal recognition, all major rights, and is satisfactory in every way. In addition, we would like to enable lifetime partnerships for heterosexual couples, thus ending this ‘segregation’.”