Sappho was looking on with her female companions, as was Alexander the Great, Plato and Aristotle. They cheered in the world of the spirits as Greek humans in parliament passed legislation that allows same-sex couples to enter into civil partnerships.
Christmas Gift to Gays and Lesbians
It’s not full marriage equality but it’s a step in the right direction. It is fourteen years later when the first European country (Netherlands) passed full marriage equality in 2001.! Greek lawmakers passed the bill by a 193-56 margin.
What Does This Legislature Mean?
The legislation will allow gays and lesbians to make medical decisions on behalf of their same-sex partner. They will also receive hospital visitation and inheritance rights.
The final draft of the measure on which parliamentarians voted did not contain a provision that would have extended adoption rights to same-sex couples.
Thanos Vlachogiannis of Thessaloniki Pride was among the LGBT rights advocates who were at the Greek Parliament on Tuesday.
“We are excited,” Vlachogiannis told the Washington Blade after the vote. “This is a new era for Greece.”
Officials with the Greek Orthodox Church condemned the bill.
The Associated Press reported that church bells in the town of Kalayryta on the Peloponnese Peninsula rang in opposition to the bill. (Such ding-a-lungs, lol)
“Homosexuality is a deviation from the laws of nature,” Bishop Amvrosios told the Associated Press.“It is a social crime, a sin. Those who experience or support it are not normal people.”
However, Bishop Amvriosios, as a Greek Orthodox priest can marry and have sex until his beard catches on fire!
Influence of European Court of Human Rights
The European Court of Human Rights in 2013 ruled that Greece’s civil partnership law was discriminatory because it was only available to heterosexual couples.
Syriza, a left-leaning party that Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras heads, before it came to power in January said it would support the legal recognition of same-sex couples.
Justice Minister Nikos Paraskevopoulos in October told advocates who had gathered in Athens for ILGA-Europe’s annual conference that his government remained committed to passage of the civil partnership bill that had been introduced a few months earlier.
Ekathimerini, a Greek newspape,reported that Tsipras said the vote “ends a period of backwardness and shame for the state, which led to our country receiving international rulings against it.”
“Instead of celebrating, though, maybe we should apologize to hundreds of thousands of fellow citizens that have been denied their rights all these years,” he said, according to Ekathimerini.
Joyce Hamilton, co-chair of ILGA-Europe’s executive board, in a press release her after the vote described it as “the realization of years of political promises.”
“Successive Greek governments had talked about legally recognizing same-sex couples and I’m thrilled to finally see these positive words translated into meaningful change for couples in Greece,” she said.
Amnesty International also applauded the bill’s passage.
“This law means that the state acknowledges that same-sex relationships exist, and that they matter,” said Gauri van Gulik, the organization’s deputy director for Europe and Central Asia, in a statement. “It sends a message of hope not only to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people, but to everyone fighting for justice and equality. The message is that Greece is becoming more tolerant.”
Greece — which has received three international bailouts since 2010 in an attempt to mitigate the impact of its debt crisis — is the 26th European country to legally recognize same-sex couples.
Gays and lesbians are able to marry in Iceland, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, England, France, Spain, Portugal, Luxembourg, Belgium, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and Denmark.