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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, June 12, 2015 - Volume 43 Issue 24
Greece to introduce same-sex civil partnerships
Section One
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Greece to introduce same-sex civil partnerships

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

Greece's embattled leftist government will introduce legislation creating civil partnerships for all couples.

The SYRIZA party, which formed a government after Greek elections in January, had promised to introduce same-sex civil partnerships, but so far has had its hands full dealing with the country's seven year long economic crisis.

Current Greek law recognizes only opposite-sex couples. Legal marriages can be performed by religious authorities or by civil officials, but opposite-sex couples may also opt for a civil partnership arrangement that offers most protections of marriage.

In 2008 the socialist mayor of Tilos married two same-sex couples, one Gay and one Lesbian, but the marriages were subsequently invalidated by Greek courts.

While the Greek Orthodox Church opposes same-sex marriage, SYRIZA leader and Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras is a self-identified atheist who is in a civil partnership with Peristera Batziana. The couple has two sons.

In November 2013 the European Court for Human Rights ruled that Greek law was discriminatory and should be amended to include recognition of same-sex couples.

The ILGA (International LGBT Association)-Europe said they were 'pleased to see that Greece is finally taking steps to implement the ECtHR's decision.'

The group also warned that there are still obstacles to final passage of equal civil partnerships.

'It is worth remembering that while this is an encouraging start to the legislative process, there are still many procedural hurdles left to jump,' ILGA-Europe said in a statement.

'The bill has been proposed by SYRIZA and is expected to come before the parliament for discussion later in the summer. ILGA-Europe encourages Greek policymakers to engage fully in the debate to ensure the civil partnership law is as inclusive as possible.'

'We hope that the bill's provisions will be strengthened,' the group added, 'ensuring that maximum rights are provided for all couples living in Greece. In the meantime, we will continue to support our Greek member organizations and look forward to celebrating the passage of this bill.'

ILGA-Europe also noted that Cyprus and Malta have recently recognized same-sex civil unions. Malta also passed constitutional protections for LGBT people.

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