People hold a rainbow flag reading "Peace" as they take part in the annual Gay Pride Parade in downtown Sofia, Bulgaria, June 8, 2019.
FILE - People hold a rainbow flag reading "Peace" as they take part in the annual Gay Pride Parade in downtown Sofia, Bulgaria, June 8, 2019.

SOFIA, BULGARIA - A court in Bulgaria has ruled in favor of a same-sex couple who married in France, in a case that recognized gay marriage for the first time in the conservative country.

Australian citizen Kristina Palma, who married Mariama Dialo of France in 2016, was initially permitted to live, work and travel in Bulgaria and the European Union on the grounds that she married an EU citizen. But Bulgaria later denied her those rights, arguing that same-sex marriage was not legal in the country.

The couple fought a two-year battle that concluded Wednesday, when the court affirmed Palma's rights as the spouse of an EU citizen.

Their lawyer Denitsa Lyubenova said the ruling could be an important first step toward legalizing same-sex marriage in the country.