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Gay Civil Unions might now be legal in Greece but

Gay Civil Unions For Greece

4 January 2016

Greece's parliament approved a bill granting same-sex couples the right to a civil union late December, becoming one of the last European countries to give this type of legal recognition after years of opposition from the influential Orthodox church.

A number of EU countries have legalised gay marriage, but some southern and eastern European states have made slower progress in this field.

The new Greek law resolves property and inheritance issues, but makes no provision for the adoption of children however.

Greece's Prime Minister, Alexis Tsipras said the bill gives same-sex couples "equal rights in life and death", terminating a practice of "backwardness and shame" for Greece.

Greece had been condemned for anti-gay discrimination by the European Court of Human Rights in 2013, after gay couples were explicitly excluded from a prior civil unions law in 2008.

"Instead of celebrating this, we should apologise to thousands of our fellow citizens," Tsipras said.

The law was supported by 193 lawmakers out of 249 present, with 56 voting against it.

Amnesty International hailed the move as a "historic step" but noted that lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) persons still faced hostility in Greece.

Amnesty International further pointed out that the law offers no gender recognition for transgender people.

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