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Box Turtle BulletinNews, analysis and fact-checking of anti-gay rhetoric
“Now you must raise your children up in a world where that union of man and box turtle is on the same legal footing as man and wife…”
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Posts for June, 2015

Greece, Italy, and Cyprus move towards civil unions

Timothy Kincaid

June 10th, 2015

Three Southern European countries are taking steps closer to civil unions.

Today Italy‘s lower house has passed a motion supporting civil unions. (

The motion commits the government “to promote the adoption of a law on civil unions, particularly with regard to the condition of the people of same sex”.

It also commits the government “to ensure equal treatment throughout the nation” of civil unions. Premier Matteo Renzi and Justice Minister Andrea Orlando have both said recently that Italy needs a civil unions law.

The motion was approved with 204 votes in favor, 83 against and 98 abstentions.

While this would, no doubt, have infuriated previous Pope Benedict the Malevolent, when Argentina was considering implementing marriage equality, Pope Francis (who was Archbishop of Buenos Aires at the time) proposed civil unions as a compromise. So Vatican opposition may be less fierce than it would have been a few years back.

In April, the government of Cyprus drafted a civil unions bill and sent it to Parliament. (Gay Star News)

The Cypriot Cabinet Wednesday (6 April) approved a long-awaited civil partnership bill that would allow gay couples to register their relationships and grant them all marriage rights except joint adoption.

The legislation will now be sent to parliament, where it will be discussed and put to a vote.

The bill is considered likely to pass.

Also today, the Greek government announced a bill to enact civil unions. (PappasPost)

Greece’s Ministry of Justice announced today it plans to introduce legislation— for the first time in Greek history— giving Civil Union rights to same sex couples. The bill, which will be part of broader legislation introduced, includes rights on insurance, taxation, inheritance and other privileges afforded to other Greek citizens.

The bill is expected to pass Parliament in Early July.

Correction to Greek ‘straights only’ domestic partners proposed

Timothy Kincaid

November 26th, 2013

Earlier this month we reported that Greece had been found guilty of discrimination for their domestic partnership registry which explicitly excludes same-sex couples. Now changes have been proposed. (Greek Reporter)

Dimokratiki Aristera (DIMAR), submitted an amendment to Parliament, which brings changes in Law 3719/2008 regarding the cohabitation agreement aimed to stop the discrimination against couples of the same-sex.

The amendment was submitted in the draft law of the Ministry of Justice “Ratification of the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment of the General Assembly of the United Nations.”

DIMAR holds about 5% of the votes in Parliament.

European Court of Human Rights finds that Greece must allow same-sex civil partnerships

Timothy Kincaid

November 7th, 2013

In the evolution of thinking on marriage equality in Europe, several nations started with a marriage-lite structure, a recognition of couples which stopped short of full rights and obligations of marriage. Ironically, this proved to be popular with some straight couples who wanted a less formal structure, an intro-level recognition while they decided whether they wanted a full marriage.

In 2008, to meet the demand for limited couple recognition, Greece decided, “Yes, let’s do that gay couple thing… but with a twist.” So they created civil partnerships, a formalization of rights of cohabiting couples and – turning the idea on its head – they specifically excluded gay couples.

Several same-sex couples challenged the law in the European Court of Human Rights and the decision has been made. (AFP)

Civil unions should not be reserved for heterosexual couples, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruled Thursday, condemning Greece for creating a “life partner” legal category that excludes gays.

Judges in Strasbourg said that authorities in Orthodox Christian Greece had not offered “convincing and weighty reasons capable of justifying the exclusion of same-sex couples” when passing a 2008 law.

The judges noted that a European Union member of the Council of Europe need not offer marriage rights or even couple recognition to same-sex couples. But if they create new structures as an alternative to marriage, they cannot make restrictions based on sexual orientation.

The ruling applies to Greece and possibly to Lithuania, which also offers straights-only non-marriage couple recognition.

[NOTE: The heading was revised]

Greece’s First Same-Sex Marriage

Jim Burroway

June 3rd, 2008

We reported last week that mayor Tassos Alfieris of the Greek island of Tilos announced that he would officiate the first same-sex wedding ceremony in Greece. Today, the BBC reports that two men and two women were married in civil ceremonies, despite threats from Greece’s top prosecutor to criminally charge the mayor if he went forward with the weddings.

Greece’s First Gay Marriage Announced

Jim Burroway

May 30th, 2008

Mayor Tassos Alfieris of the Greek island of Tilos hopes to officiate the first same-sex wedding ceremony in Greece, after two gay men took the first official step toward marriage by publishing a wedding bann (notice) in a local newspaper.

In March a lesbian organization discovered that a 26-year-old law on marriage doesn’t specify gender in civil weddings. This will be the first test case of that loophole. No date has been set for the civil ceremony.

Update: A senior Greek prosecutor is threatening Mayor Alfieris with criminal changes if he goes ahead with plans to officiate the wedding.

Greece Possibly Considering Gay Couples

Timothy Kincaid

April 1st, 2008

Greece is not a leader in gay rights. The conservative Orthodox Church is very influential in the nation and is strongly opposed to gay equality.

Nonetheless, Greece is getting a lot of attention recently surrounding the issue of recognition of gay couples.

First some lesbians found a loophole in civil marriage law and are going to marry with the intent of seeing what happens.

Then Greece has drafted language on domestic partners – but for opposite sex couples only.

Now, however, at least one governmental bureau is considering gay couples:

The Greek Justice Ministry pledged to establish a working group on the rights of gay couples living together, which would “analyze all aspects of the issue, international practice and the existing domestic legal and social framework.”

The move follows a request by the country’s National Commission for Human Rights that proposed a civil union registry that would allow both same-sex couples to marry. Parliament could approve the law in a few months, national media said