Greece's parliament has approved a bill
that allows gay and lesbian couples to enter a civil union.
According to the
AFP, 193 lawmakers backed the law, while 56 rejected it.
Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said that
the bill would end a practice of “backwardness and shame” for
The new law does not provide for the
adoption of children.
The influential Greek Orthodox Church
lobbied against passage. This week, a prominent Greek bishop
described gay men and lesbians as “criminals” and “freaks of
nature,” adding that they should be “spat upon.”
Reports of homophobic attacks have
increased in Greece in recent years.
In praising passage of the law, Amnesty
International called on the government to act.
“Despite this first step, LGBTI
people in Greece still live in a climate of hostility from which the
authorities are failing to protect them adequately,” said Gauri van
Gulik, Amnesty International's deputy director for Europe and Central
“Physical attacks are on the rise,
hate speech is common and goes unchecked by the authorities. Even
displays of affection between same-sex couples are censored on
television,” he added.
Only a handful of EU nations –
including Italy, Poland and Romania – do not recognize the unions
of gay couples.