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Greece Extends Registered Partnerships to Same-sex Couples
(Blogmensgo, gay blog of December 14, 2015) The Greek Minister of Justice has introduced a legislation project for same-sex registered partnerships. The parliament will decide on this new bill on December 22. [Update: The law has been adopted – details at the end of this article.]
Greece has only known civil marriage since 1981, and registered partnerships (called “free legal unions” there) were introduced as recently as 2008 and are limited to heterosexual couples. A gay and a lesbian couple married soon after that, arguing that the civil marriage does not explicitly define the gender of the spouses. A court later canceled those two marriages.
The very homophobic bishop Ambrosios de Kalávryta with his beard against nature.
Gay marriage in small installments
The new registered partnership legislation wants to include same-sex couples and provide more benefits in terms of social rights (retirement), taxes and succession.
In return, same-sex couples may neither marry nor adopt children.
The left-wing governing party Syriza does not have the absolute majority in parliament and therefore has to rely on opposition votes for this project.
The curse of the orthodox church
The Greek-orthodox church, which is closely entangled with the state, has not yet expressed any particular position in this question. However, in 2008, the church was pushing to explicitly exclude same-sex partners from registered partnership.
In 2013, the Greek-orthodox church still counted homosexuality among the aberrations of the institution of family, just like registered partnerships. Bishop Ambrosios de Kalávryta considers gays and lesbians as “monsters of nature” and goes as far as encouraging his fellow Greek citizens to “spit on them.”
The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) already sentenced Greece for discrimination against homosexuals in 2013. Currently, the cancelation of the two before-mentioned same-sex marriages is being investigated.
Extending registered partnerships in Greece to gays and lesbians is very much in line with European directives, even though currently, this is not about same-sex marriage (yet). By the way, the Greek constitution guarantees equality of all citizens and respect of diversity.
“It is the duty of the State to guarantee the same rights for everyone,” explains the text of the new bill. It goes on: “This bill does not threaten the institution of marriage nor any other constitutional rights or moral values”.
New law was adopted
Update of December 30, 2015: In the night of December 22 to 23, 2015, the new law extending same-sex partnership to gay and lesbian couples was approved with a majority of 193 to 56 votes (source | source).
As expected, five parties (including the governing party Syriza) voted in favor of the new law but one of the smaller governing parties against it.
The institution of same-sex partnerships „ends an antiquated and shameful practice in Greece,“ said prime minister Alexis Tsipras.
Greece was one of the last countries in the EU in which gay and lesbian couples could not claim any particular status. Therefore, this new law marks a recognizable progress but LGBT persons remain second-class citizens because they may neither marry nor adopt children.
This situation is particularly lamentable because homophobic attacks (verbal and physical) are frequent, and homophobia is not recognized as a punishable act. Religion and the church remain very powerful, and government bodies do nothing to change this for the better.