San Marino now legally recognizes same-sex couples's right to live together after withdrawing a 16th century law against it.
Until yesterday (16 June), the small independent country in the north of Italy wouldn't give visa rights to gay men and women living together as a couple.
The removal of the medieval law by the Consiglio, San Marino’s parliament, is a long way short of partnership protection or marriage rights but is still an historic step forwards.
Michele Pazzini, secretary of the LGBT-San Marino association, said: ‘This is a little step towards the full recognition of same-sex couples.’
The visa question is a hot topic because many Italians ask for a visa to live in the small country in the hills of Rimini, Emilia-Romagna region, because of the very low taxation of the little republic.
But, until yesterday, the visa was not being given to same-sex couples formed by one local and one Italian.
The vote split the parliament, however, with 33 members wanting to lift the ban and 20 voting against.
The PDC party’s representative said: ‘As a party, we can not approve this new law. But every member of parliament has the right to vote in favour or against.'
By contrast all the left-wing parties voted in favor saying there were ‘against this medieval law.’
The law was as old as the small republic, and it has always been supported by San Marino’s authorities to control excessive immigration.
San Marino, 24 square miles, has the oldest constitution still in effect, dating back to the 16th century. It is one of the wealthiest countries in the world in terms of gross domestic product per person.
San Marino is considered to have a highly stable economy, with one of the lowest unemployment rates in Europe, no national debt and a budget surplus.