The head of the Church of Greece yesterday gave a green light to the government’s plans to introduce a law that would allow couples who live together to have the same rights as those that are married. Justice Minister Sotiris Hatzigakis presented the proposals to Archbishop Ieronymos amid concern that the Church might object to the change of law. However, Ieronymos, who was elected to succeed Archbishop Christodoulos last month, indicated that trying to interfere in the details of the law is beyond the Church’s remit. «The members of the Church follow the dictates of the Bible, the rules of the Church, the order of the ecumenical synods and the holy tradition,» said the archbishop. «As a result, there are clear limits and in respect to this matter, the Church does not have the right to ask for it to be watered down or to have any other request granted.» The new law is set to allow unmarried couples to make their relationship official and legally binding by signing a simple notarial contract. The contract would remain in effect, thus ensuring full protection of both partners’ legal rights, until they get married or one marries someone else. There are no plans to extend the law to same-sex couples, although this may be considered in the future. Yesterday’s meeting came as a lesbian couple announced that they will try next week to become the first same-sex partners to be married in a civil ceremony by taking advantage of a 1982 law which does not specify that a civil union must be between a man and a woman. Ieronymos appeared to take a philosophical approach to the changes that are afoot. «Some people who have certain problems choose to regulate their lives in their own way,» he said. «The Church cannot keep a check on this by enforcing measures like the police.» The archbishop said that following his discussion with the minister he was confident that the proper research would be carried out to see what the public thinks of introducing a cohabitation law.