The government in Cyprus has approved a bill allowing for same-sex civil partnerships.

The long-awaited bill has gained the approval of the Cabinet, and now passes to the Parliament where it will be voted on.

The bill gives couples in civil partnerships all the benefits of marriage – with the exception of joint adoption.

Accept-LGBT Cyprus, an advocacy group, said: “The government is living up to its promises, taking the first step towards modernising the state’s institutions.

“We also welcome the efforts of all parliamentary party representatives that took part in the group that worked towards promoting the legislation to the government and to their respective parties.”

Director of ILGA-Europe, Evelyne Paradis said in a statement: “We sincerely welcome today’s move by the Cypriot government. This bill was promised by politicians two years ago already and we call on to the parliament to support this important piece of legislation without delay.

“This bill is designed to ensure all families are protected and enjoy their human rights.

“The European Court of Human Rights made it clear that family today is understood not as only a union between married man and woman and their biological children, but include a whole variety of arrangement’s, including families of same-sex partners and their children.”

It comes a year after Cyprus held its first ever Pride event.