A court ruling in Croatia has paved the way for same-sex couples to adopt children under the same conditions as heterosexual married couples.
Zagreb's Administrative Court ruled in favour of an LGBT couple, who had complained after their adoption request was rejected by authorities.
But judges said the two men should be allowed to adopt children because they lived together in a same-sex civil partnership.
Croatia’s Rainbow Families association has hailed the decision as a "historic" ruling.
"This verdict opens the door to all life partners in the Republic of Croatia who want to become adoptive parents and guarantees them that they must not be discriminated against on the basis of their sexual orientation," the association said in a statement.
"The child's right to the best possible adoptive parents remains a priority, and this ruling does not automatically mean that life partners become adoptive parents - but life partners can now contact their Social Welfare Center without fear and apply for an adoption evaluation."
The LGBT couple had originally filed their complaint with Croatian courts five years ago, but a final court decision was issued last month. In 2020 the two men were granted the right to provide foster care.
"The Administrative Court in Zagreb acted correctly, respecting the Constitution of the Republic of Croatia, international conventions and our laws," said Daniel Martinović, president of the Rainbow Family Association.
We are very happy because of this verdict, ... for all the other couples who are considering adoption and who want to expand their family in that way."
The rights of LGBT communities have gradually improved in recent years in EU member Croatia - a conservative, predominantly Catholic country.
Same-sex couples have been able to enter into civil unions since 2014 that give them almost the same rights as married heterosexual couples.
Religious groups have campaigned to restrict the right of homosexuals to foster children or adopt.
"We are still witnessing discrimination ... our struggle does not end," Martinović said.