Couples who choose to sign a so-called cohabitation agreement, including same-sex partners, will have virtually the same rights as those who are married with the exception of the right to adopt a child, according to new legal provisions that were put up for public consultation on Monday by the Justice Ministry.
The agreement, which in its current form grants non-married couples similar rights to those who are married, would be extended, giving signatories the favorable tax status enjoyed by married couples and increased inheritance rights. In the case of civil servants, the same benefits granted to married couples would apply.
The bill unveiled by Justice Minister Nikos Paraskevopoulos yesterday also includes provisions aimed at boosting anti-racism legislation. According to the proposed legislation, not only offenses with racist motives will be regarded as crimes, but also those stemming from discrimination based on someone’s sex or religion.
The bill’s extension to include gay couples has fueled controversy, notably a stern reaction from the Greek Orthodox Church. Over the summer Archbishop Ieronymos slammed the cohabitation pact, describing it as “a poor imitation” of marriage and “a neoliberal rewarding of irresponsibility in interpersonal relations which it relegates to a simple transaction.”