Skip to comments.EU court: Greek law reserving ‘civil unions’ for heterosexuals ‘illegal’
Posted on 11/20/2013 6:51:00 PM PST by annalex
ROME, November 8, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A law in Greece that allows civil unions for heterosexual couples but does not include same-sex partners has been declared illegal by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).
When a country provides legal recognition to unmarried heterosexual couples in the form of civil unions, the court said in a ruling issued Thursday, same-sex partners must also be able to benefit in the same way.
In a judgment in the joint cases of Vallianatos and Mylonas v. Greece and C.S. and others v. Greece, the Grand Chamber of the ECHR ruled that the Greek law violates the European Convention on Human Rights. In what has become the highly successful practice by lobbyists to overturn national laws, activists had brought the two cases to the ECHR demanding that the Greek government recognize same-sex partnerships.
Six of the seven applicants, the court noted, “live together” as couples in Athens or are “in a relationship “but for professional and social reasons do not live together.”
“The seventh applicant is a not-for-profit association, the aims of which include providing psychological and moral support to gays and lesbians,” the court said.
The law, entitled “Reforms concerning the family, children and society,” entered into force in 2008. The complainants said in a hearing in January 2013 that it was “designed only for couples composed of different sex adults had infringed their right to respect for their private and family life and amounted to unjustified discrimination between different-sex and same-sex couples, to the detriment of the latter.”
The law had been put in place to protect women and the children born within cohabiting unions and was supported in Parliament by the argument that limited legal recognition of opposite-sex civil unions would “reflect a social reality,” of widespread cohabitation outside marriage. It was intended to allow “the persons concerned to register their relationship within a more flexible legal framework than that provided by marriage.” Such “de facto” partnerships have increased by 2008 to include about five percent of all children born in Greece.
An explanatory report on the law submitted to the court noted that the law was intended to help women and their children who had been left “without any support after a long period of cohabitation, and the phenomenon of single-parent families generally.”
The report also emphasized that the law allowed status of religious marriage to remain “unparalleled” in Greek law and that “alongside civil marriage, [it] represented the best option for couples wishing to found a family with a maximum of legal, financial and social safeguards.”
The according to the government’s report said that civil unions were reserved for different-sex adults and concluded that they represented a new form of partnership and not a kind of “flexible marriage.”
“The report considered that the institution of marriage would not be weakened by the new legislation, as it was governed by a different set of rules, court documents said.
During the debate before Parliament, the Greek Minister of Justice said, “We mustn’t include same sex couples. We are indeed convinced that the needs and demands of the Hellenic society do not cross this line; as a legislator, the political party in power is accountable to the Greek people; we have our own beliefs and negotiations are over; I believe it is the way to go.”
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The court allowed “third-party” interventions from a cadre of homosexual activist groups including the Fédération internationale des Ligues des Droits de l’Homme (FIDH) and the European Region of the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA-Europe).
Livio Zilli, Senior Legal Adviser at the International Commission of Jurists, one of the activist groups that brought the case forward, said that the decision demonstrated that the Convention on Human Rights is “a living instrument to be interpreted in the present-day conditions.”
The state is “obliged under the Convention to take account of societal developments, as well as of the fact that there was no single way or choice when it came to people’s exercise and enjoyment of their right to family or private life,” he continued.
In related news, the government of Croatia has said that voters will be facing a December 1st referendum to decide whether to change the legal definition of marriage. The ballot will ask the question, “Do you agree that marriage is matrimony between a man and a woman?” If the vote supports natural marriage, the constitution will be amended to specifically define marriage as being between a man and a woman and prohibit same-sex “marriage.”
Croatia’s liberal President Ivo Josipovic has said he will vote No on the question, adding, “Do we need this kind of a referendum?”
“I think that determining marriage between a man and a woman does not belong in the constitution. A nation is judged by its attitude toward minorities,” Josipovic said.
A pro-family group had collected over 730,000 signatures to bring the referendum question to the public, but had been blocked by Josipovic’s left-leaning government. Although that number represented about 20 percent of the country’s total electorate – in a nation of about 4.3 million persons – the government had attempted to stall, claiming that not enough signatures had been gathered.
The Referendum Act requires that petitioners secure the signatures only of 10 percent of the electorate.
Nevertheless, Vesna Pusić Minister of Foreign Affairs attempted to block the vote by claiming that instead of the 3,760,000 citizens eligible to vote in the last European Union elections, there were 4,560,000. In a press release, the citizen imitative that had petitioned for the referendum called this “a number which almost certainly includes the deceased, ghosts, and double votes.”
Pusić also attempted to claim that, despite the wording of the law, that a referendum result would not be binding on the government.
The group, a grassroots coalition called, “In the Name of the Family,” says its task is to promote “universal human values, as well as religious associations, communities and movements – all those who hold the view that marriage is a union between a man and a woman only.”
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Oh yeah, that won’t cause anyone to get upset, not in Greece, the most cool, calm, collected, and law-abiding nation in the world. Thanks annalex.
Pure fascism, and it WILL NOT STAND in Greece. Still very religious country. They have blasphemy laws. If the government acquiesces to this, there’ll be an uprising.
They are screwed. Doesn’t make any difference what the people feel because they don’t own the country anymore .... the EU does. There won’t be any reaction other than a few fires and stone throwing before the police (augmented by the EU forces if necessary) shut them down. Remember, they are a third world country without a Bill of Rights which include free speech and arms. They are third world serfs.
Is there an EU Constitution? How are these judges determining what is legal??
“their right to family”
can a man and a man produce a child BY THEIR NATURE? No.
can a woman and woman produce a CHILD BY THEIR NATURE? No.
where do children come from? a birth of a human child as a result of the joining of a male’s sperm with a female’s egg.
then from where does their come any natural “right to family” - in the sense of raising children - beyond what nature makes plain? no place.
does that mean that “other couples” may co-habit, peacefully and even monogomously? yes. but that fact
has nothing to do with, nor cause any need for, redefining the meaning of marriage; yes marriage which is civilization’s cornerstone for FAMILY
So, the way to inhibit liberalism in the USA is to nuc Brussels.
Up till recently, despite all the financial troubles, the polls showed slight preference for staying in the EU in Greece. Remember, Greeks are by nature colonizers: they emigrate easily. The ability to get to London or Paris and work, and keep the Greek passport is of immense importance to many Greeks.
Also remember that this is not a mandate to have a gay “marriage”, but rather a ukase that IF Greece has a civil union legislation at all: that is if it gives a legal status to cohabitating unmarried couples, THEN that legislation should recognize civil unions of gays. In a religious country, a cohabitating couple is not following the divine law anyway.
True also anywhere in Europe.
they are a third world country without a Bill of Rights
That is inaccurate. While it is a patriarchal society more than somewhere in Northern Europe, the real incomes are comparable to the rest of Southern Europe, and the picture gets better still, because of the very high property ownership and business ownership rates in Greece, with many mortgages never taken or paid off a long time ago.
At least as I remember Greece 25 years ago, it had very solid middle class.
I do not think individual liberty in Greece is in any way inferior to what the Bill of Rights offers, and the country is far more divided left to right than the US.
There are various operational documents in the EU, but the reality is that it is a bureaucracy all the way through with no accountability to the electorate. It was designed that way, in order to shield the public finance policy from the vagaries of the democratic process. Now we have both financial ruin and no democratic process.
Yes. Neither cohabitation nor homosexuality are civilizational assets. They are social illnesses.
I think, a generation or two down the road it will successfully nuc itself. But pity our generation on whose collective head will the bureaucratic empires crumble.
I can see why the UKIP exists.
Both UKIP and BNP exist because they are real political parties, expressing real, grassroots political opinions that exist in the British public. We should be wondering how come Labor, Conservative and that hybrid thing exist.
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