Back to 2008. Based on what we learned a few hours later and what is detailed in the later documentary by Panagiotis Evaggelidis, the late Mayor of the tiny island of Tilos, Tasos Aliferis, performs a civil marriage to two same-sex couples at the town hall, based on an interpretation by constitutional law professors of the then current Constitution that does not clearly state, that marriage is between a man and a woman. A long court battle ensued over the annulment of marriages. But the start of the countdown and the official recognition of civil marriage between same-sex couples had already begun.

Yesterday the Greek Parliament voted for equality in marriage between same-sex couples and the right of recognition for their children, with a large consensus among democratic political parties and 176 votes in favor. The bill was introduced by the right-wing government, New Democracy in an attempt:

  • to win over a part of the conservative centre, which has been without government representation for several years,
  • to respond to one of the strong cards of the new leader of SYRIZA, Stefanos Kasselakis (openly gay and recently married abroad with his partner),
  • to add a positive sign to the mix of social cohesion after about five years of repression and suppression of rights (access to housing, employment, health, education, etc.) It is no coincidence that on the same day, the student movement was again on the streets of Athens against the government’s legislative initiatives for the privatization of higher education and the degradation of public education.

The bill had been received with positive comments, clearly highlighting its weaknesses, by representatives of the LGBTQ+ community in their public interventions and in the debate that took place in the competent committees of the Hellenic Parliament, some days ago.

Equality in same-sex marriage comes after the legislative acts introduced by the SYRIZA government on civil partnership (2015) and the legal recognition of gender identity (2017). Greece has become the 35th country in the world to legalise the right to marriage for same-sex couples and the recognition of their children.

Thousands of community members have fought in various ways for visibility and rights over time in Greece. But I think that the new Law should be dedicated to the memory of Tasos Aliferis, to the memory of the two women who had a civil marriage in Tilos, Evangelia, and Olga-Marie, who are no longer with us, and to the courage of a married couple of Tilos, Dimitris, and Themis.