The lower house of Parliament in the Czech Republic on Wednesday rejected same-sex marriage while affirming existing unions called partnerships for gay couples.

The new legislation, passed in a 123-36 vote, also doesn’t allow same-sex couples to adopt children aside from those of their partner.

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The legislation still needs approval from the Senate and President Petr Pavel, who took office last year and has supported same-sex marriage.

Czech flag

The Czech flag is flown from a riverboat in Prague, Czech Republic, in 2009. (Photo by Bill Tompkins/Getty Images)

Most European Union member states allow same-sex marriage.

In the Czech Republic, Parliament approved in 2006 a law allowing same-sex partners to live in an officially registered partnership and have rights to inheritance and health care similar to those enjoyed by heterosexual married couples.

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Such arrangements offer some of the protections of marriage, but many LGBTQ activists consider them a demeaning second-tier status.

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