New Greece government promises to extend legal status to same-sex couples

New Greece government promises to extend legal status to same-sex couples

[JURIST] Greece’s new government, led by the left-wing Syriza party [official website, in Greek], vowed Monday to extend legal status to same-sex couples. Justice Minister Nikolaos Paraskevopoulos in a speech [AP report] before the Greek parliament [official website] stated that country’s civil partnership laws will be extended to same-sex couples. In 2013 the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights [official website] ruled [judgment] that Greece had violated the European Convention on Human Rights [text, PDF] by excluding same-sex couples from the country’s civil union law. No timetable has been given for the law’s expansion.

The legal rights of same-sex couples remain a hotly contested issue throughout the globe. Earlier this month a nationwide anti-gay marriage referendum in Slovakia failed [JURIST report] because of the low voter turnout. The referendum, which asked whether marriage should only be a union between a man and a woman, was intended to strengthen the constitutional same-sex marriage ban in the country. The status of same-sex marriage in the US is currently in flux with multiple federal courts ruling [JURIST reports] on the issue. At the end of January Chilean lawmakers gave final approval to a bill that recognizes civil unions between same-sex couples. Also in January the Parliament of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia voted [JURIST report] to ban same-sex marriage by defining marriage as between a man and a woman.