Bishops appeal against same-sex civil unions

Bishops appeal against same-sex civil unions

Three senior clerics, along with lawyers and ordinary citizens, lodged an appeal on Monday to the Council of State, Greece’s highest administrative court, against a recent bill that legalizes civil unions for same-sex couples, saying it is unconstitutional and contravenes the country’s civil code.

The move by metropolitan bishops Seraphim of Piraeus, Seraphim of Kythira and Ieremias of Gortynia was prompted by a recent Interior Ministry law that sets out the details of how gay couples can register their civil union.

The plaintiffs said that the legalization of same-sex unions goes against accepted norms and customs in Greece, pointing to Article 5 of the Constitution.

Greece legalized gay civil unions last December, drawing the ire of the Greek Orthodox Church and the staunch opposition of several right-wing members of the ruling coalition. It was passed in Parliament with 193 lawmakers voting in favor out of 294 that were present and 56 against, while Amnesty International lauded the move as a “historic step.”

Greece had legalized civil unions for heterosexual couples in 2008 but refused the same right to homosexual couples, leading the European Court of Human Rights to rule in 2013 that the move was discriminatory.

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