Greek Ombudsman prods gov’t on issue of civil unions for gay couples

The Greek Ombudsman reminded the government on Thursday that it has been a year since the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ordered Greece to extend civil unions to gay couples without any action from Athens.

The rights watchdog said that the government’s actions are “not in keeping with a modern state” and that they are an international embarrassment for the country.

Civil unions, or partnerships, are a legal form of partnership which have been available to heterosexual couples in Greece since 2008.

But in November 2013 the ECHR said that the same right had to be provided to same-sex couples.

The Ombudsman said that the government’s failure to adopt the court’s ruling not only created problems for couples who would benefit but also “prolongs confusion within society, allowing stereotypes and prejudice to be maintained along with degrading and marginalizing behavior.”

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