Gay rights activist hails European court’s decision as ‘small revolution’

The European Court of Human Rights has deemed that Greece was wrong to exclude same-sex couples from a 2008 law recognizing civil unions.

Gay rights activist Grigoris Vallianatos and his partner brought their appeal to the court in Strasbourg, arguing that the law, which provided for a more flexible legal framework to the one associated with marriage, discriminated against gay couples.

The court said that of the 19 European Union member states which allow some form of registered partnership other than marriage, Lithuania and Greece are the only ones to preclude gay couples.

The court held that Greece had not provided compelling reasons for restricting civil unions to different-sex couples.

“The decision is a small revolution,” said Vallianatos, who heads the The Liberal and Libertarian Party of Greece. “Greece has finally lost the case and the Greek government is being forced to become European.”

The Justice Ministry said it would study the ruling from Strasbourg.

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