Greek Island of Tilos Holds Country's First Same-Sex Marriages
Citing Greek civil law which fails to explicitly specify gender in matrimony, the mayor of the Greek island of Tilos, Tassos Aliferis, officiated the marriage of a gay and lesbian couple today, the BBC reports:
"Mr Alfieris conducted the proceedings despite Greece's top prosecutor having issued a directive saying that same-sex weddings were outlawed. One of the women involved, Evangelia Vlami (pictured), was bubbling with excitement as she told the BBC she was 'so happy'....'From this day, discrimination against gays in Greece is on the decline. We did this to encourage other gay people to take a stand,' she said after the ceremony held at sunrise on Tuesday."
Vlami also told Reuters: "We are very moved and happy that we found someone to make our dream come true. I am proud to be the first Greek Lesbian to get married."
According to Reuters, Vlami is the spokesperson for Greece's Gay and Lesbian Community (OLKE): "The Justice Ministry said the marriages were illegal and all involved would face charges. 'The law does not allow marriage between homosexuals,' a Justice Ministry official who requested anonymity told Reuters. 'The case will go to court; the mayor of Tilos will face charges.' But OLKE said it hoped the weddings would help change attitudes towards homosexuals in Greece, which has long preferred to turn a blind eye to homosexuality rather than acknowledge gay rights."
Said the mayor of nearby Rhodes: "This is terrible. We have good families coming here for holidays, we can't have them coming to our beaches and seeing these kind of couples."
Greek Isle Mayor Hopes to Conduct First Same-Sex Wedding [tr]