Press Release in support of Marriage Equality

Εικόνα από την παρέλαση του athens oride με άτομα να κρατούν την σημαία


February 15, 2024 is a historic turning point for the LGBTQI+ movement both in Greece and throughout Southeast Europe. For the first time, a country in the wider region will institutionalize marriage equality. With this move, hundreds of families that for all these years have remained invisible to society and non-existent to the State will finally have legal recognition. With this move, we have come one step closer to substantive equality.

We, the signatory organizations, welcome the government’s move to bring the Marriage Equality Bill to a vote, along with the improvements that promote equal treatment in education and the provision of services. And we call upon all Institutional Bodies and Organizations and all members of society to take a stand in support of the recognition of LGBTQI+ families and the total elimination of discrimination against LGBTQI+ people in all aspects of family, professional and private life. At the same time, we call upon the government, the legislature and the judiciary to take into account the comments and suggestions of the LGBTQI+ community to complement and improve the bill under consideration, and improve the existing laws regarding family provisions, in order to include all the members of the LGBTQI+ community, to strengthen the visibility of all family structures, and to achieve substantial and full equality.

Firstly, the bill under consideration, while undeniably an important advance for the institution of the family in Greece does not appear to attempt to reshape and modernize the basic concepts surrounding family relationships. Rather, it seems aligned with the heteronormative-patriarchal model of the nuclear family.

One striking example is the non-use of the phrase “regardless of gender” in all relevant voting points (see Articles 1, 2 & 3). We consider it imperative that the language be changed from “same or different gender,” as appears in the current bill, to “regardless of gender” in order to include transgender, intersex, and non-binary people.

The next issue concerns the adoption process. This bill does not give immediate and automatic legal recognition of parenthood with marriage. In other words, the marriage contract does not enable one party to automatically become the legal parent of the biological or adopted child of the other party, who are raising the child together. Rather, the only option offered is adoption – a complex, time-consuming process with numerous restrictive terms and conditions (i.e. age limit, evaluation procedures) and loopholes – thus raising the question of whether this process will be easily applicable, with no implied exclusions. This emphasizes the need for a separate, extrajudicial arrangement (e.g. a notarial deed), which would allow the immediate recognition of children from the first party of the marriage. To achieve this, the language of the legislation must be changed regarding “presumption of paternity” and “maternity” to “presumption of parentage” thus recognizing all parents regardless of gender.

Another problem area surrounding the “presumption of paternity” and “maternity” is the non-recognition of transpaternity. Transgender people are still treated as parents based on their deceased personal information for children they had before their gender was legally recognized. The State must make a provision for the gender information of the person-parent to be changed on the child’s birth certificate, after the legal recognition of their gender identity, to avoid inconsistencies. Otherwise, the rights of transgender people to both self-determination and to parenthood continue to be violated, and their children exposed to discrimination. In addition, there is no provision for a trans man or a person with a uterus, when pregnant and after giving birth, to be registered as anything other than “mother”, contrary to their right to respect for their gender identity.

Yet another problem in this bill concerns surrogacy. As applied since 2002, Greek law bans surrogacy for single men, families of same-sex men, as well as transgender and intersex people. This exacerbates exclusion and discrimination. We call upon the State to amend the existing legislation, which is based on the altruistic disposition and self-determination of the individual, and instead provide access to all individuals, regardless of identity, gender expression and characteristics, and sexual orientation, to assisted reproductive technologies, with no horizontal bans.

Lastly, we call upon the State to implement the provisions of the anti-racist law (N.4285/2014) and to protect the people of our community from the ongoing attacks of virulent hate speech in the public discourse as well as by officially recognized bodies of Greek society.

We call for the visibility and protection of all family structures, regardless of the identity, gender expression and characteristics, and sexual orientation of the parents. For equality without asterisks. For our community. For our partners. For our families.

The Signatory Organizations:

Athens Pride

Thessaloniki Pride

LGBTQI+ Employment Support Group

Rainbow Seniors

Rainbow School

Proud Seniors Greece – LGBTQI+ Support Group for People 50 and Over

Colour Youth – LGBTQ Youth Community of Athens

Rainbow Families

Transgender Support Association (S.Y.D.)

Proud Parents

Greek Intersex Community – IntersexGreece

Sex Workers Empowerment Network (S.E.S.)

Positive Voice

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