Greece recognises same-sex civil partnerships
The Greek Parliament adopted a landmark bill that recognizes same-sex civil partnerships, in a victory for LGBT groups and civil rights activists. The vote was conducted amid fierce debates between Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras's Syriza party, and conservative parties opposing the vote. The legislation eventually won 194 votes out of 300, with 55 votes against and 51 abstentions.
Homosexual activity is legal in Greece, however homosexual couples are not eligible for all legal and constitutional protections available to opposite-sex couples, including marriage. Male homosexual practice was decriminalized in 1951. In 1982, a law was passed that legalized civil marriage between "persons", without specifying gender; male prostitution was legalized in May 2006. However, the Greek constitution does not acknowledge or mention lesbians.
In Greece, LGBT discrimination at the work-place is illegal. Violence against LGBT individuals or groups is punished with imprisonment of 3 months to 3 years and a fine of €5.000 to €20.000.
On 3 June, 2008, the Mayor of Tilos cited the 1982 law's gender neutral wording and married two homosexual couples. The move was widely criticized by the Greek clergy and lawmakers as well. In May 2009, authorities annulled the marriage, calling it illegal. The Supreme Court of Greece issued a stern warning to the Mayor of Tilos and reprimanded him for his actions.
Prior to elections in 2009, the Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) announced its support for same-sex registered partnerships. After being voted to power in 2010, PASOK announced that a special committee had been formed to prepare a registered partnership law that would include both same-sex and different-sex couples. However after much debate and discussion, the legislation was never formally passed while PASOK was in power.
In 2011, The ECHR condemned Greece for annulling the marriages of same-sex couples in 2009, citing an infringement upon their "right to equality" and awarded €5000 in damages to the couples.
A civil union is a marriage like arrangement between consenting adults. It allows same-sex couples a way to publicly commit to each other without quite granting them permission to marry.
The new bill will now formally recognize civil unions between same-sex couples, which will grant them a number of rights that opposite-sex couples in civil unions share. These rights include the right to inheritance, the right to spouses employment benefits and joint state tax filings among others. However, sections pertaining to family laws, including rights to adopt children have been dropped from the legislation.