Greece's parliament has approved legislation legalizing civil partnerships for gay couples, two years after the country was condemned by a European Court for discrimination.

In a result announced early Wednesday, lawmakers voted 193-56 in favor of the bill to extend civil partnerships to same-sex couples, but provisions regarding family law that could pave the way for adoption applications were dropped before the vote.

Conservative bishops in Greece's powerful Orthodox Church vehemently opposed the law, arguing that it undermined the institution of family.

Lawmakers from the governing Syriza party backed the bill which split the main opposition conservatives.

Several hundred pro-gay rights protesters gathered outside parliament before the vote, under a large banner that read "Love is the law."