Joint Press Release for marriage equality

February 15th, 2024 marks a historic turning point for the LGBTQI+ movement in both Greece and the entire Southeast Europe, as for the first time, a country in the broader region will institutionalize marriage equality. With this move, hundreds of families that have remained invisible to society and non-existent to the State for so many years are finally legally recognized. This action brings us one step closer to substantive equality.

The organizations co-signing this text welcome the government’s move to bring the marriage equality bill to a vote, including improvements for promoting equal treatment in education and service provision, and call on all institutional Bodies and Organizations and all members of society to take a stand in favor of recognizing LGBTQI+ families and the complete elimination of discrimination against LGBTQI+ individuals in all aspects of family, professional, and private life. At the same time, they call on the government, the legislative, and the judicial bodies to take into account the observations and proposals of the LGBTQI+ community to supplement and improve the bill to be voted on, as well as the existing laws involved in family arrangements, in order to include all individuals of the LGBTQI+ community, to enhance the visibility of all forms of family, and to achieve substantial and full equality.

Initially, the bill to be voted on, although undeniably a significant breakthrough for the institution of the family in Greece, appears not to attempt to reshape and modernize basic concepts around family relationships. Instead, it seems to move within the framework of the heteronormative-patriarchal model of the “nuclear” family.

A prime example is the non-use of the formulation “regardless of gender” in all relevant points of the bill to be voted on (such as in Articles 1, 2, & 3). We consider it imperative to rephrase to “regardless of gender” instead of “same or different gender” that currently applies, in order to include trans, intersex, and non-binary individuals.

The next issue concerns the adoption process. The current bill does not provide direct and automatic recognition of parenthood upon marriage. In other words, one party cannot automatically become a parent of the other party’s biological or adopted child they are raising together upon marriage. Instead, only the option of adoption is offered, a complex and time-consuming process with several restrictive terms and conditions (e.g., age limit, evaluation processes), with many gaps raising the question of whether this process will be easily applicable without implicit exclusions. Thus, the need for a separate, out-of-court regulation (e.g., a notarial deed) that allows for the immediate recognition of children by the first party in the marriage is highlighted. To achieve this, it is necessary to change the legislation around the “presumption of paternity” and “maternity” respectively, where a “presumption of parenthood” will be recognized, regardless of gender.

Another problematic issue related to the “presumption of paternity” and “maternity” arises concerning the non-recognition of trans parenthood. Trans individuals continue to be treated as parents based on their dead personal details for children they had before the legal recognition of their gender identity. The State must provide for the ability to change the gender entry of the parent in the child’s birth record after the legal recognition of gender identity, so there is no discrepancy between them. Otherwise, the violation of trans individuals’ rights, both in self-identification and in parenthood, continues, while their children are exposed to discrimination. Moreover, in the case of pregnancy and childbirth by a trans man or person with a uterus, there is no provision for recording them other than as “mother,” contrary to their right to respect for their gender identity. Another problematic point in the current bill concerns surrogacy, as applied since 2002 in Greek law. Its prohibition for single men, same-sex male families, and for trans and intersex individuals intensifies exclusions and discriminations. Instead, we call on the State to amend the existing legislation, which is based on altruistic disposition and the individual’s self-determination, and to provide access to assisted reproduction technologies for all individuals, regardless of identity, expression, and gender and sexual orientation characteristics, and to avoid horizontal prohibitions.

Finally, we call on the State to implement the provisions of the anti-racism law (N.4285/2014) and to protect our community members who are targeted by the hate speech that is very strongly expressed in public discourse even by officially recognized entities of society.

For the visibility and protection of all family formations, regardless of identity, expression, and gender and sexual orientation characteristics of the parents. For equality without asterisks, for our people, for our families.

The signing Organizations:

Athens Pride – Athens Pride Festival

Thessaloniki Pride – Thessaloniki Pride Festival

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 (T.S.A.)

Proud Parents

Greek Intersex Community – Intersex Greece

Sex Workers’ Empowerment Network (S.W.E.N.)

Positive Voice