The first same-sex marriage in Montenegro

The first same-sex marriage in Montenegro was registered on 25.07.2021 in the coastal resort of Budva, a year after Montenegro became the first non-EU country in the Balkans to legalize same-sex civil partnerships.

A municipal official in Budva, Milijana Vukotic Jelusic, said the marriage was between two young women, both from abroad but with Montenegrin origins.

In July 2020, parliament in Montenegro voted to legalize same-sex civil partnerships with a very narrow majority of MPs. The change was supported by only 42 MPs in the 81-seat chamber. By law, the government had a deadline of July 15 this year to harmonize the legislative framework with the new law under which same-sex couples can enter into a legal union at their local registry office.

The law also allows the regulation of mutual financial support and division of joint property in the event of divorce. It grants those in a same-sex civil partnership the right to social security and health cover based on their partner and regulates family visits to hospitals or jails. It does not provide the right to adoption or fostering of children.

The Minister of Public Administration, Digital Society and Media, Tamara Srzentic called the first same-sex marriage in the country a historic step. “Although the law was adopted a year ago, much more needs to be done to meet all the preconditions for its full implementation. The LGBTIQ community will always have an ally in me for all activities that contribute to improving the quality of their life,” Srzentic said.

Despite these supportive words, homosexuality remains a sensitive issue in the still socially conservative country, as it does elsewhere in the Balkans. Earlier surveys suggested that 71 per cent of citizens in Montenegro viewed homosexuality as an illness and that every second citizen saw it as a danger to society.

References from the official website of the Balkan Insight