Greece to grant gay couples right to civil union

Athens, June 11:  Greece's radical-left government proposed a bill to grant same-sex couples the right to a civil union, two years after the European Court of Human Rights condemned the country's existing legislation as discriminatory.

In the campaign leading up to its electoral victory in January, the Syriza party had pledged to modify Greece's laws on civil union, which to date exclude gay couples.

Greece: Gays get right to civil union

"With the enactment of a new civil union pact, Greece will cease to be one of the last European countries where same-sex couples do not receive some kind of official recognition for their relationship," the justice ministry said in a statement yesterday.

In November 2013, the European Court of Human Rights condemned Greece for excluding gay couples from its civil union laws. The first same-sex civil marriage held in 2008 was annulled by a court a year later.

The influential Greek Orthodox Church officially frowns upon same-sex relations, and its previous head archbishop Christodoulos famously condemned homosexuality as a "defect".

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While the former coalition government appeared ready to include gay couples in the law governing civil unions, it decided at the last minute to postpone the issue. No date has yet been set for a parliamentary debate on the new government's draft.

Should the leftist majority fail to win the backing of the right, other parties' MPs will probably throw their support behind the government's proposal.

Deputies are meanwhile mulling a separate Syriza government proposal to grant citizenship to the children of migrants who were either born in Greece or who completed their schooling in the country.


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