The Greek Parliament approved a bill granting same-sex couples the right to a civil union, becoming one of the last European countries to give them legal recognition after years of opposition from the influential Orthodox church.
The new Greek law resolves property and inheritance issues, but makes no provision for the adoption of children.
"This is an important day for human rights", Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras told the chamber. Tsipras said the bill gives same-sex couples "equal rights in life and death", terminating a practice of "backwardness and shame" for Greece.
The European Union (EU) currently has 28 members. Same-sex marriage is legal in twelve of them: Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Ireland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovenia (effective date pending), Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom (except Northern Ireland). Civil unions are legal in nine EU nations: Austria, Croatia, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Germany, Hungary, Malta and now Greece. No partnership recognitions exist in seven EU nations: Bulgaria, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, and Slovakia.
The bill was approved by wide majority 194-55
Well done Greece!