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European Court of Human Rights: Greece Must Allow Civil Unions for Gay Couples

Yesterday we reported that the European Court of Human Rights ruled that persecuted gays from Africa have grounds for asylum in European Union member countries.

GreeceBut there's more, the WSJ reports:

A separate ruling was issued by the European Court of Human Rights, which is separate from the EU and has jurisdiction over 47 countries, including Russia and Turkey. That court said that countries that legally recognize relationships outside marriage, such as civil unions, must extend that option to same-sex couples. That ruling could force legal changes in Greece and Lithuania, which currently permit civil unions only for heterosexual couples...

The civil union judgment was prompted by a case brought by two Greek gay couples:

The Strasbourg-based court said that the Greek government failed to explain convincingly why such unions shouldn't be open to same-sex partnerships. The court noted that, in 17 of the 19 European countries with legal alternatives to marriage, those unions also included gay couples.

"The decision is a small revolution. Greece has finally lost the case and the Greek government is being dragged into becoming European," said Grigoris Vallianatos, one of the complainants. "The issue of gays is no longer one of sex hidden behind the bushes, rather something that relates to the Greek family."

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  1. Still pretty lame though. Our "Human Rights" don't entitle us to full equality, or even mandatory lesser quality, but if you let heterosexuals have a lesser option, you can't deny us our humanity by not letting us have that also.

    Definitely a "better than nothing" ruling.

    Posted by: Michaelandfred | Nov 8, 2013 12:24:12 PM

  2. You're wrong. This ruling is handed down by the ECtHR but the yesterday ruling was of the ECJ. The ECtHR has jurisdiction over 47 European states and the ECJ only over 28. The last the European Court of Justice is an European Union (EU) court; the former a court of the Council of Europe.

    Posted by: Andrea | Nov 8, 2013 12:37:08 PM

  3. Hmm. GAME OVER Putin! Unless Russia wants to get out of the European Union which they just MIGHT do EVEN after actively seeking membership. Not certain yet exactly how they will respond. I am not much for crystal ball reading. Too often one just ends up with a mouthful of broken glass . . .

    Posted by: Mike | Nov 8, 2013 12:40:19 PM

  4. Russia is not in the EU.

    Posted by: Andrea | Nov 8, 2013 12:48:20 PM

  5. It remains to be seen how quickly the far-right New Democracy party/coalition will act to change the law. The Greek Orthodox Church has an inordinate amount of Constitutionally protected influence on legislators. It recently issued a kind of "fatwa" against same-sex marriage in Nis, Serbia at a meeting with the heads of eight factions of the Eastern Orthodox Church, including Russia's Archbishop Kirill. The bishops are not fans of democracy or equality especially when it interferes with church dogma, no matter how shameful it may be.

    Posted by: Jerry | Nov 8, 2013 12:54:57 PM

  6. Well, it's true that civil unions and other marriage-lite options available to straight couples should be available to gay couples, too. But there is also no rational reason for gay couples to be excluded from marriage.

    Posted by: Ernie | Nov 8, 2013 12:55:26 PM

  7. Andrea, no, you're wrong. It was indeed the European Court of Human Rights.{"itemid":["001-128294"]}

    The bad thing is that it only applies to CUs and other newly created unions. So the homophobes are spinning the decision as "again the court finds no right to marriage for gays."

    Posted by: KevinVt | Nov 8, 2013 1:07:54 PM

  8. Sorry Andrea, I was misled by your syntax.
    Greece ruling ECHR.
    Asylum ruling not.

    Posted by: KevinVt | Nov 8, 2013 1:13:28 PM

  9. I'm so sorry for my syntax. I'm not English.

    Posted by: Andrea | Nov 8, 2013 2:29:06 PM

  10. Jerry: The head of the far right party, new dawn, are all in jail for the murder or a hip hop artist (and a good bunch of other things).

    Posted by: jjose712 | Nov 8, 2013 2:30:23 PM

  11. So why did Greece have civil partnerships?

    Posted by: BobN | Nov 8, 2013 3:27:12 PM

  12. European court of Human rights has nothing to do with EU, his jurisdiction is extended on 47 European countries, but the judgement have more a moral value, the court has no real power, in opposition to the EU court of justice that can give real sanctions to the EU states.

    Posted by: lukebrux | Nov 8, 2013 5:09:26 PM

  13. @2Jose: You've confused the fascist Golden Dawn party (polling 7% in the last parliamentary election) with the more dominant New Democracy party, which received the most votes of any party, but was forced to form a coalition with the more progressive Syriza (which supports LGBTs) in order to get business done in the Greek parliament. Members of Golden Dawn were arrested, not New Democracy.

    Posted by: Jerry | Nov 8, 2013 6:00:48 PM

  14. As much as I might agree with a ruling, I would never accept the ruling of a foreign or UN court in the sovereign matters of America. It's unfathomable that any country in Europe, with the history of forced consolidations, patronage, and overlordship of foreign Princes would submit to a foreign Prince dressed as a democratic unifying body. Sometimes the Bible contains wisdom, "Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?"

    Posted by: Endoritos | Nov 9, 2013 11:36:28 AM

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