Greece’s Government will not comply with a European Court of Human Rights ruling to open its heterosexual civil unions scheme to same-sex couples after receiving a backlash from conservative MPs within the ruling coalition.
Coalition partner the Pan-Hellenic Socialist Movement party (PASOK) announced earlier this week that it would table legislation allowing same-sex couples to have civil unions and Interior Ministry General Secretary and New Democracy party MP Yiannis Ioannidis initially suggested his party would support that.
However following a backlash from conservative MPs from within New Democracy, Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras intervened to prevent division in his party on the issue.
The back down by New Democracy on civil unions for same-sex couples comes just days after a prominent Greek Orthodox bishop threatened to ex-communicate any lawmakers who supported the bill.
However it’s not all bad news as the government has announced it will attach anti-discrimination protections covering sexual minorities to a bill to combat racism.
New Democracy, the Pan-Hellenic Socialist Movement and the Democratic Left party say they will support the anti-racism law, while the Opposition Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA), Communist Party of Greece and the far-right Golden Dawn will oppose the bill for different reasons.