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Protests Follow Delay In Greece Civil Partnership Battle

Protests in Greece

Protesters gathered outside parliament buildings in Greece last Friday following the government’s decision to delay legislating civil unions for same-sex couples, reports The Huffington Post.

6a00d8341c730253ef01b7c6dc84a9970b-320wiThe delay comes despite a European court ruling that Greece has been discriminating against LGBT people.

Justice Minister Haralambos Athanasiou said civil partnerships had been left out of anti-racism legislation because further study was needed on how the partnerships would affect tax, social insurance and family law.

Last year, the Council of Europe's Court of Human Rights ordered Greece to pay damages to four gay couples who had taken a discrimination case against the country.

Another 162 gay couples from Greece filed a similar complaint in the international court earlier this year to pressure the government to change the law.

However, same-sex marriage remains a divisive issue in Greece, where several prominent members of the Greek Orthodox Church and members of the ruling conservative party have argued that civil partnerships for same-sex couples would undermine the institution of family.

Tom Koukoulis, one of the plaintiffs who attended the demonstration said that the legal battle is “about the right to ... visit a relative in hospital, to file a joint tax declaration, and all the rest. We do think it is going to happen because we are on the right side of history."


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."


Olympic Flame Met With Protest In Athens Over Russian Anti-Gay Laws

Athens
(twitter Vivian Efthimiopoulou)

On Saturday, a throng of people gathered to protest Russia's anti-gay propaganda laws as the Olympic flame made its way through Athens, Greece. The protest was reportedly peaceful.

The AP reports:

The activists sat on the steps of the Acropolis Museum, with some holding rainbow flags, while others held a banner reading "Homophobia is not in the Olympic Spirit" and "Love is not Propaganda."

Police presence was light and there were no incidents.

The official handover ceremony will take place later Saturday.

This protest could precede an arduous journey for the flame. Where else will it be met with outcry about Russia's recent legislation? 


Police Conducting 'Purges and Arrests' of LGBT People in Greece

Via GR Reporter, anti-LGBT oppression in Greece against trans people:

ThessalonikiThe police in Thessaloniki has been carrying out a series of ungrounded arrests of transgender persons as stated by the Greek Transgender Support Association. "According to written complaints filed by our members who live in Thessaloniki, it is clear that from 30 May 2013 onwards, the police have been carrying out purges and arrests of transgender citizens on a daily basis. The same complaints state that those arrested are being taken to the police headquarters in Thessaloniki in Dimokratia Square, where the victims are waiting for at least three or four hours to be identified under the pretext that the authorities should establish whether the particular person was not a prostitute," reads an address of the non-governmental organization (NGO).

And LGBT people in general:

Late last week, the Metropolitan of the Orthodox Christian Church Antimos openly urged the residents of the northern Greek city not to allow their children to participate in or to promote the gay parade. He described Thessaloniki Pride as an "unholy and unnatural event." Antimos announced that he had received a petition containing nineteen and a half thousand signatures of citizens of Thessaloniki and the surrounding areas, who "strongly and dynamically protest against the outspoken presentation of homosexuals in their city." He said that he was for the repeal of the festival and that he strongly supported the opinion of the discontented.

Thessaloniki is the second largest city in Greece.


Gay Former Swedish MP Attacked on Greek Vacation

Tasso Stafilidis, the first openly gay person elected to the Swedish parliament in 1998, was attacked while on vacation in Greece, eNet reports:

StafilidisStafilidis, who was accompanied by a friend, initially thought that the three masked men following them were going to rob them.

However, the black-clothed men started yelling homophobic insults at Stafilidis and his friend, calling them “dirty faggots”, and started punching and kicking them on the head and body. They then fled the scene without stealing anything from their victims.

The number of violent attacks on homosexuals has risen in Greece since the debt-crisis started three years ago.

In an article published in the Huffington Post a few months ago, gay-rights activists said that over the last year there is a clear increase in homophobic violence, stressing that the attacks follow the same patterns of Golden Dawn members' attacks against migrants. The neo-nazi party,  which won 18  seats in last June's parliamentary elections, is openly anti-gay.

Born to Greek parents, Stafilidis, who hadn't visited Greece in seven years, said he had already noticed a shift in attitudes before being attacked. “These things go hand-in-hand when a country's prosperity collapses. The crisis makes people susceptible to this kind of rhetoric and sentiment.”


Greece Bans Footballer Giorgios Katidis for Life After Nazi Salute: VIDEO

Katidis

Giorgios Katidis, a Greek footballer who gave a Nazi salute after making a game-winning goal over the weekend has been banned for life from representing Greece in the game, the NYT reports:

The Hellenic Football Federation met Sunday in response to the incident and decided to ban the player, who has previously captained the national team in youth competitions. “The player’s action to salute to spectators in a Nazi manner is a severe provocation, insults all the victims of Nazi barbarity and injures the deeply pacifist and human character of the game,” the federation said as Greece marked the 70th anniversary of the deportation of thousands of Greek Jews to Nazi death camps.

Reuters adds:

The 20-year-old, a former captain of Greece's Under-19 team, made the gesture in celebrating his winning goal in a 2-1 Super League victory over lowly Veria on Saturday. Katidis apologized and asked to be dropped from AEK's first team.

"I would like to confess that I am totally unacceptable and I feel terrible for those I upset with the stupidity of my act," Katidis said in a statement. "I made the mistake so I will be the one to pay for it, AEK is not responsible. So that is why I have decided to put myself out of the team because I have now realized how much I have offended the history of the club. Also, I understand fully the reasons for the decision made by the Greek Football Federation to which I owe a huge apology as it has helped me to get where I am in the professional game."

Katidis reiterated that he was not a fascist or racist.

Watch the video, AFTER THE JUMP...

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