Greek Parliament passes same-sex civil unions law

Greece has become the latest country to recognise same-sex unions, after passing a civil partnership law.

Members of the Greek parliament voted last night on re-drafting a civil partnerships law from 2008, which explicitly banned same-sex couples.

Greece was condemned in 2013 by the European Court of Human Rights, which ruled that it should not have excluded same-sex couples.

The proposals, supported by the country’s dominant left-wing Syriza faction, passed the 300-seat Parliament with 193 votes in favour.

The bill was strongly supported by Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras – who has long supported on LGBT rights, though thecountry’s financial crisis remains a driving force of the government.

Mr Tsipras said he hoped the passing of the law would end “a circle of embarrassment for the state”.

According to Proto Thema, he said: “With the legalization of civil partnership for same-sex couples, a cycle of backwardness and shame for the Greek state is closing.

“[It is one] of denial and marginalization of a large part of our fellow citizens, who were not allowed to live together with their partner and enjoying basic rights and which led the Greece to convictions by the European Court of Human Rights.”

He told lawmakers that the day is “not befitting celebrations but of an apology” to people whose human rights have been blocked until now, hailing their right “to stand on an equal footing to human suffering before the law.

The PM added: “This bill should have passed years ago, and maybe even months ago, as far as our government is concerned.”

The move has been praised across Europe.

Joyce Hamilton of pan-European LGBT group ILGA-Europe said: “This is the realisation of years of political promises. Successive Greek governments had talked about legally recognising same-sex couples and I’m thrilled to finally see these positive words translated into meaningful change for couples in Greece.”
Greek Parliament passes same-sex civil unions law
It comes just days after LGBT activists suffered a crushing defeat in Slovenia, where same-sex marriage was overwhelmingly rejected in a public vote.