Greece’s Parliament has approved a new civil partnership bill that will legally recognise same-sex couples for the first time.
On Tuesday, 194 parliamentarians voted for and 55 voted against the new law, which while not delivering full marriage equality is a major step forward on LGBT rights for the nation.
Registered partnerships had previously only been available to heterosexual couples, which was declared discriminatory by the European Court of Human Rights.
“This is the realisation of years of political promises. Successive Greek governments had talked about legally recognising same-sex couples and I’m thrilled to finally see these positive words translated into meaningful change for couples in Greece,” said Joyce Hamilton, Co-Chair of ILGA-Europe’s Executive Board.
The new law means that same-sex couples will now benefit from various rights and protections along the lines of those enjoyed by heterosexual married couples.
While these protections include inheritance, the legislation does not include the ability to apply for joint adoption. The bill also extends greater anti-discrimination protection on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity.
The bill was, however, slammed by leading Greek cleric, the Bishop Seraphim of Piraeus, as a Jewish conspiracy. The anti-Semitic bishop insisted in a bizarre statement that the legislation was due to the “Zionist monster” which he said controlled the Greek government.
Late last month, the nearby island of Cyprus also passed a similar civil partnership bill.