Macedonia's parliament on Wednesday moved forward with a constitutional amendment which would exclude gay and lesbian couples from marriage.

Two thirds of lawmakers agreed to begin the amendment process, leaving little doubt the proposal has the support needed to become law.

The government has 10 days to draft the amendment before lawmakers take a final vote.

Ilija Dimovski of the ruling conservative VMRO-DPMNE party is quoted by the AFP as saying that the amendment is needed to “protect traditional, family and religious values of marriage.”

Talk last year of a Gay Pride parade taking pace in Macedonia prompted the move. Some conservative politicians and the Orthodox Church responded by calling for the marriage ban.

Earlier this week, nearby Croatia moved in the opposite direction, approving civil unions for gay couples.