Europe

Slovenia boosts rights of same-sex couples

Slovenia has introduced a law on same-sex partnership that grants legal rights to gay unions but does not allow them to adopt or undergo in-vitro fertilization.

The measures formally came into effect Friday after they were approved last year. Same-sex unions now enjoy the same legal protection as married couples in areas including social and health care benefits.

Slovenians in 2015 rejected in a referendum a bill that envisaged full equality of same-sex couples. Authorities then changed the law to reflect the vote result.

Simon Maljevac from the LGBT group Legebitra, described the law as "a step in right direction."

Though Slovenia is among the most liberal eastern European countries, gay rights remain a contentious topic in the predominantly Roman Catholic nation of 2 million.