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    March 13, 2008

    The first big fat Greek gay wedding

    Posted by: Andoni

    As a dual Amercan and Greek citizen, I was shocked to learn this morning that the the first same-sex civil marriage is being planned in homophobic Greece.

    A lesbian group OLKE has found a loophole in the 1982 law that created civil marriage (marriage outside the church), which refers to "persons" rather than "man and woman." A lesbian couple has found a mayor of a district in Athens who sees no conflict with the 1982 civil marriage law to perform the ceremony.

    Archbishop_ieronimos_of_greece A major reason Greece trails far behind the rest of Europe in gay rights is the very conservative and homophobic Greek Orthodox Church, which is in lockstep with the pope and the Roman Catholic Church on gay issues. Astonishingly, the new leader of the Greek Orthodox Church -- the old archbishop died last month -- seemed resigned to the idea when asked about heading off the proposed civil marriage. "There is a need to change with the time," he said.

    In a sense Greece's hands are tied because European Union mandates have been pressuring member states to give lesbian and gay citizens full rights, including marriage or marriage equivalence. A number of states have begun to fall in line: the U.K. granted civil partnerships and Spain, the Netherlands, and Belgium allowing full civil marriage. A number of other countries, including Sweden and Denmark, offer civil union equivalents. It is only a matter of time before all the members states are in sync with the E.U .mandates.

    If Greece allows this same-sex civil marriage to proceed, it will jump from one of the most backward Western democracies on gay rights, to right up there with the U.K. I'm going to watch this one carefully.



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    1. Thaddaeus on Oct 1, 2008 1:28:50 PM:

      Actually this event would not be a 'jump forward' for 'backwards' Greece. As the author notes, the marriage would be 'outside the church', which, to Greek Orthodox Christianity, is not marriage at all; just civil permission to cohabitate. Orthodoxy is the state religion of Greece, and the marriage would not be performed by Orthodox clergy, so 'accommodating' the lesbian couple would actually be confining them to a socially ostracized group; it would be official recognition that gays cannot be married sacramentally. I lived in Greece for five years.

    1. Giota on Nov 14, 2008 8:38:33 PM:

      Nice article mate :)

      Well, the two marriages were performed on the 3rd of June on the island of Tilos. Unfortunately, Sanidas, the highest-in-rank judge of Areios Pagos and the judge of the Rhodes island have filed a lawsuit against the mayor of Tilos and the two couples. The trial was to begin on the 2nd of October but the date has changed and the process is due to begin on the 4th of December. We all cross our fingers in expectation and hope that in a few years hate will be eradicated from within Greece's constitution.

      Have a nice day.

      PS: O.L.K.E is not exclusively a lesbian group. It actually stands for:

      Omofylofilikh, Lesviaki, Koinotita, Elladas


      Homosexual, Lesbian, Community of Greece.

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