Justice minister ‘will not discuss’ same-sex marriage

Justice Minister Haralambos Athansiou on Tuesday appeared categorically opposed to same-sex marriages, despite the European Court of Human Rights ruling in 2013 that Greece’s exclusion of same-sex couples from civil unions was in violation of the European Convention on Human Rights.

“This is a country that respects traditions, respects the nature of man and [same-sex] marriage is simply not possible, at least under this government and this ministry,” Athanasiou said on Mega television on Tuesday.

“I will not discuss it; I will not even consider it,” he said.

The justice minister added that he has set up a committee to review the laws governing marriage in Greece and to explore the terms of civil unions.

“We are limiting ourselves to issues concerning social security insurance, pensions and inheritances,” he said, adding that the “consequences” of common law marriage need to be “considered.”

“Will we go as far as adoption and custody matters?” he said.

With regards to the European court decision, Athanasiou said that “we cannot turn a blind eye.”

However, he added, “we need to look at [the issue] from a religious, political and societal perspective.”