A historic ruling from Croatia’s High Administrative Court means that same-sex couples will be entitled to apply to adopt children.

“Taking into account the position of the European Court of Human Rights, the Court states that a different treatment of persons in similar situations, based exclusively on their sexual orientation, represents a form of discrimination,” the 26 May ruling stated, according to Telegram.hr.

It brings an end to the six-year-long legal battle of Mladen Kožić and Ivo Šegota, a gay couple who have been fighting to make this possible after being refused the right to adopt in 2016.

The rejections they faced were done with the reasoning that the Croatian law on civil unions, which has been in place since 2014, did not include the right to adopt – despite the Life Partnership Act effectively giving gay couples equal rights to heterosexual ones.

The court’s ruling included an order that social centres must accept applications from same-sex couples and, if they are found to be suitable, to include them on waiting lists to do so.

It also effectively rejected an appeal from the Ministry of Demographics, Family, Youth and Social Policy, which sought to challenge a judgement in favour of same-sex adoption from the Administrative Court in Zagreb earlier in May.

However, the High Administrative Court’s ruling is now final, meaning that LGBTQ+ adoption is now legal.