Sunday, 5 July 2009

Greek citizens opinion on gay rights - statistically

A recent survey by the EU statistics office, Eurobarometer, claims that 16% of the Greek population same-sex marriage and that one in ten of them agree with same-sex couple's right to the adoption of children. I find these figures remakrably low when compared to other European countries where the European Union average of 44% and 33% respectively and thus put Greece in the lowest ranks.

Another survey by the same EU agency done in January 2007 ("Discrimination in the European Union"), showed that 77% of Greeks believe that being gay or lesbian in their country 'tends to be a disadvantage'.

More interestingly, a survey which was carried out among Greek Members of Parlament raised the issue of recognising taxation, inheritance and other legal rights to same-sex couples. The results of the survey showed that 41% of parliamentarians surveyed favored granting such rights while 55% were against it. Among PASOK MP's, 55% were favorable, compared to just 27% of New Democracy MPs. No big surprise knowing the politics of New Demcoracy.

The rights of the gay community in Greece

It may seem strange but the fact is that gay right's issues scarcely surface in domestic politics. The recent "scandal" over the gay marriages on the island of Tilos, caused a national uproar. Politically, the ruling party, New Democracy, is opposed to same sex marriage and its leader, current Prime Minister, Kostas Karmanlis has voiced this. Indeed, any progress in the issue simply relates to the rights of couples of different gender. Shamefully, he has passed legislation - and here Greece is the only country in the world to have done so - to secure civil union rights exclusively for heterosexual couples. Well done Kostas - considering some of the spicy rumours about his personal life. In any case, it is clear that European legislation overrides Greek legislation on the issue so any recourse to the European Court of Human Rights will be sure of victory.

The largest opposition PASOK, did table a proposal in April 2006 on rights of couples, both heterosexual and homosexual but this got no where and was hypocritical in that it foresaw adoption rights only for heterosexual couples.

One major factor in this whole despicable hypocrisy is, of course, the Greek Orthodox Church which in social aspects still trundles along in the 17th century but has tremendous financial and thus political power. The only light on the horizon is that the newly elected head of the Church in Greece, has stated that the church must change with the times.

Wednesday, 1 July 2009

Whatever happened to this story?

Does anyone know what happened the story concerning the prosecution of the major of Tilos for approving a gay marriage about one year ago. I take this excerpt from a fantastic gay blog by a guy calling himself Citizen Crain - in my view a gifted journalist.

"As a tangential note, the trial of those first same sex weddings in Greece was supposed to commence on Oct. 2, but it has been postponed to Dec. 4. It will be interesting to see if Greece has progressed as far as Spain in allowing for the separation of church and state. In my opinion the Greek Orthodox Church in Greece is more powerful than the Roman Catholic Church in Spain. The civil marriage laws in Greece were clearly gender neutral. So we'll see if Greece follows the law or a religiously biased interpretation of the law.

I cannot find out anything about what happened in this issue and would be grateful if you could post a coment if you know anything.

Just a thought - and a quote

I am not an Athenian or a Greek, but a citizen of the world." — Socrates

Gay life in Greece and Thessaloniki - the issues, the places the people

Looking around the Internet trying to find information on the gay issue in Greece or the gay movement in the country, the result is very sparse to say the least. Why, in relation to other European countries, is there no gay issue in Greece. It does not seem to figure on any political agenda or in any organisation with a mandate of securing gay rights and a ban on sexual discrimination.

The issue fo gays in Thessaloniki caught my attention when news of the mayor of a small island providing over a civil union caused outburst in the Greek media. Yet now I am more than pleasantly surprised to see Greek websites offering gay wedding services on the island of Santorini, for example. So what is the situation in Greece, is there legal civil union, what rights to gays have, what are the ambitiosn of the gay movement in Greece? Is there a gay movement in Greece?