European Court of Human Rights rules against Greece’s ban on gay civil unions

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Greece’s ban on same-sex couples from entering civil unions violates the European Convention of Human Rights, a European court has ruled.

On Thursday, the European Court of Human Rights declared that excluding same-sex couples from any type of legal recognition was wrong.

Greece was found guilty of violating Article 8 (on private and family life) and Article 14 (on discrimination) of the convention.

Judges said that same-sex couples are just as capable as opposite-sex couples of entering into stable committed relationships.

The court remarked that of the 19 European states which have authorised some form of registered partnership other than marriage, Greece and Lithuania were the only ones to reserve it exclusively for heterosexuals.

Greece now has to pay each of the six applicants in the case 5,000 euros (£4,200) in damages.

The case was brought by several gay rights campaigners, who have been frustrated at the perceived lack of action undertaken by the Greek Government.

In August 2011, the government stated that it would introduce legislation allowing the registration of same-sex relationships.

A similar pledge was made by Minister of Justice Antonis Roupakiotis in February this year.

In a separate judgment on Thursday, the European Court of Justice ruled in favour of three gay men from Sierra Leone, Uganda and Senegal, who had applied for asylum in the Netherlands.