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Cohabitation agreements for homosexual couples in Greece

30 November 2013 / 20:11:49  GRReporter
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The recognition of cohabitation of homosexual couples will be introduced by a separate law and not by an amendment to the anti-racist law, following the recent decision of the European Court of Justice against Greece.

Circles of the Justice Department excluded the probability of the introduction of an amendment to the anti-racist law that is currently awaiting a vote in Parliament, noting that the Government will consider the introduction of a separate bill or its combination with other laws (such as changes in family law).

The decision of the European Court, which condemned Greece for violating the European Convention on Human Rights, which prohibits discrimination because of the exclusion of same-sex partnerships from cohabitation agreements, does not leave much room for action and obviously the relevant provision should include homosexual couples in these agreements, too. Government circles, however, noted that they must carefully examine all sides of the rights and obligations that will be created - something which will take time.

According to a proposal of PASOK, an Article punishing discrimination because of sexual orientation might be added to the anti-racism law. This article was included in the original version.

Homosexual marriage is legal in 9 countries

An increasing number of countries are proceeding to the recognition of rights of homosexuals. Despite the opposition of conservative politicians, principles of equality and judicial decisions are making more countries adopt relevant regulations. 9 countries (Belgium, Denmark, France, Iceland, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain and Sweden) allow marriage between homosexuals. 13 other countries (Austria, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Liechtenstein, Switzerland, United Kingdom, Andorra, the Czech Republic, Croatia, Luxembourg and Slovenia) recognize the rights of homosexual couples through a cohabitation agreement. The only countries that have a cohabitation agreement in their legislation, but only for heterosexual couples are Lithuania and Greece.

The rights

It should be noted that most countries have adopted such agreements in order to protect mainly the rights of homosexual couples.

"The Greek cohabitation agreement is the weakest in Europe, and does not provide for insurance, pension and tax rights," said lawyer Vangelis Malios.

There is resistance on the issue of adoption. Many countries allow homosexuals to adopt children, biological or adopted children of their partners, and some allow the adoption of children by individuals. Few countries (Iceland, Sweden, and Denmark) allow mutual adoption by homosexual couples.

Homosexuality is still illegal in 11 countries in America, and five countries have recognized civil marriage between homosexuals (Argentina, Canada, Uruguay, USA and parts of Mexico). Brazil, Colombia and Ecuador recognize the right of existence of homosexual couples.

Metropolitan Seraphim has threatened lawmakers with excommunication

Metropolitan of Piraeus Seraphim has threatened MPs who vote changes in cohabitation agreements for homosexual couples with excommunication. In his statement, Seraphim speaks of homosexuality as "the most vile and filthy sin." In parallel, he has called on the government not to proceed with this "insult to God and man." According to him, homosexual cohabitation offends human nature and is not observed even in animals.

Manolis and Yiannis

We want the same opportunities as everyone

"Since I have the same obligations as all Greeks, I don't understand why I can't have the same rights" 27-year-old graphic designer Manolis has had a relationship with Yiannis for 2 years and, according to him, they are considering the possibility of proceeding to a cohabitation agreement.

According to activists, there are many couples who are waiting for this moment. "I want to be able to submit a joint tax return with my partner. In case something happens to me, I want him to be able to come and see me at the hospital, instead of being prohibited because he is not a relative, I have the same opportunities as other citizens, but I am deprived of the right to choose," said Manolis.

"Some will say that this is not vital, because people are starving today. However it is a main theme of justice and equality. We, as homosexuals, should also be able to create a family," he added. According to him, the cohabitation agreement should include everything that is applicable for heterosexual couples.

Manolis admitted that agreements will result in easier acceptance by others. "They will hit public racism. Now we will be legally protected. "However, according to him, the agreement is just the first step which was taken by other countries a long time ago.

Tags: homosexual couples rights cohabitation agreements legal amendment
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