Greek Orthodox bishop sues AIDS charity for one million euros

PinkNews logo on a pink background surrounded by illustrated line drawings of a rainbow, pride flag, unicorn and more.

Gay rights advocates in Greece have appealed for help in fighting a lawsuit against activist Leo Kalovyrnas and non-governmental organisation Synthesis HIV/AIDS Awareness.

The Greek Orthodox Metropolitan of Piraeus, Seraphim, is bringing the suit.

He made a series of homophobic statements in a newspaper article, claiming gay people are “morally corrupt, obsessed with satisfying their psychopathological deviation and who have made a life value out of the faeces elimination tract.”

Synthesis and Mr Kalovyrnas denounced the bishop’s comments, and will appear in court on February 3rd on charges of defamation.

Damages of one million euros (£912,750) are being sought.

“Hate speech against gays, lesbians and transgender people in Greece takes place with impunity,” Synthesis said in a statement.

“Several leading politicians, ministers, and religious leaders, as well as several journalists and other public figures, repeatedly insult and demean gays and lesbians without any legal or disciplinary consequences.”

The AIDS group added that in his newspaper article the bishop: “said that the popular Greek actor Nikos Seryanopoulos, who was murdered in what seems to be a homophobic crime, brought this on himself because, according to the alleged murderer, Seryanopoulos forced him to have sex, and him not being ‘that way’ got upset and defended himself by stabbing the actor 21 times.”

Synthesis have asked people to sign a petition to the Greek government calling for a ban hate speech against the LGBT community in Greece by changing the anti-discrimination laws to include sexual orientation and gender identity.

Greece has been a member of the EU since 1981.

The Greek Orthodox church has taken the lead in opposing gay rights.

Greek government policy is still steadfastly anti-gay.

Gay marriage has long been opposed and gays are still barred from entering the military.

However, homosexuals in Greece are still seeking a greater voice within their country in recent years, which culminated in the first Gay Pride parade in 2005.