Croatia's parliament on Tuesday overwhelmingly approved a law recognizing for the first time the unions of gay and lesbian couples.

The Life Partnership Act was proposed by the center-left government of Croatian Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic. In December, 65 percent of voters approved amending Croatia's constitution to define marriage as a heterosexual union in a referendum organized by the Catholic Church.

Lawmakers approved the legislation with an 89-16 vote, according to a BIRN report.

The legislation reportedly recognizes gay couples as a “form of family life” and grants them the same rights and duties as marriage, with the exception of adoption.

“This long-awaited legal recognition of our unions means that all family forms are equal, that they deserve to live in a safe, happy environment and that the dignity of every person, regardless of his sexual orientation is inalienable,” said Marko Jurcic of Zagreb Pride (pictured above).

“We're very pleased, this is a huge step forward for Croatia,” he added.