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Greece may allow same-sex marriages March 31, 2008

Posted by grhomeboy in Gay Life, Greece News.
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Greek authorities are considering adopting a law that would allow same-sex couples to marry in a civil ceremony, the country’s NET TV said on Monday.

The Greek Justice Ministry pledged to establish a working group on the rights of gay couples living together, which would “analyze all aspects of the issue, international practice and the existing domestic legal and social framework.”

The move follows a request by the country’s National Commission for Human Rights that proposed a civil union registry that would allow both same-sex couples to marry. Parliament could approve the law in a few months, national media said.

The current 1982 marriage law does not specify the gender of the groom and the bride. However, civil authorities refuse to marry same-sex couples. They say the move could result in a number of further legal difficulties, including the issue of adoption by gay couples.

The Greek Orthodox Church, which strongly opposes same-sex marriages, called the possibility a “catastrophic bomb” and “a prostitution” which threatened Greek society.

Modern Greece is a largely conservative society, strongly influenced by the dominant church. Civil marriages became legal just 15 years ago, while most Greeks still prefer a traditional Greek Orthodox wedding ceremony. The first Gay Pride parade in Greece was held in 2005.

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A Holy row at Mount Athos March 31, 2008

Posted by grhomeboy in Greece News.
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Fishermen, residents protest plans to bar port activity at Mount Athos

Dozens of fishermen and residents on Saturday blocked the port of Ouranoupolis, the gateway to Mount Athos on the peninsula of Halkidiki, to protest government plans to restrict activity in the European Union-protected zone.

Protesters lined up 30 boats along the dock to obstruct vessels taking monks to and from Mount Athos, complaining that the planned measures would put local fishermen out of business. Locals also allege that the monastic community has encroached upon public land.

Archbishop Ieronymos wants a more tolerant Church March 24, 2008

Posted by grhomeboy in Greece News, Politics, Religion & Faith.
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Archbishop Ieronymos yesterday distanced himself from the Holy Synod, which last week described cohabitation between unmarried couples as “prostitution,” saying the Church should be more open-minded and less moralizing.

“The Church is what Christ wants it to be, not what people want it to be,” Ieronymos told a congregation at Kalamata Cathedral. “We are giving the impression that the role of the Church is to force people to be good,” he said. Ieronymos cited the example of Saint Dionysus of Zakynthos, who reached sainthood even though he had sinned by harboring a criminal.

The Holy Synod’s statement, apparently influenced by Bishop Anthimos of Thessaloniki, was a reaction to government plans to introduce a cohabitation law granting the same rights to couples who live together as those who are married.

Greek bloggers fight for gay partnership equality March 21, 2008

Posted by grhomeboy in Gay Life, Lifestyle, Politics, Religion & Faith.
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More than 200 weblogs have joined an initiative called Greek Bloggers Against Discrimination to campaign against proposed new legislation on domestic partnerships that excludes same-sex couples.

“This discriminatory project has been widely denounced not just by the LGBT community, but also Greek citizens from all walks of life who believe that it violates the Equality clause enshrined in our constitution, as well as the country’s European commitments,” the group said. “We ask our friends in Europe and around the world to help us achieve the widest possible publicity for these initiatives.”

Gay rights group Olke plans to lobby the Greek government and has slammed what they perceive as an unlawful draft bill. Greek government policy is still steadfastly anti-gay. Gay marriage has long been opposed and gays are still barred from entering the military. However, homosexuals in Greece are still seeking a greater voice within their country in recent years, which culminated in the first Gay Pride parade in 2005.

A Greek lesbian couple in Athens are due to attempt to marry in a civil ceremony in the country’s first same-sex marriage. The law does not explicitly proclaim a civil union must take place between a man and a woman and the couple are hoping to take advantage of that loophole.

The Greek Othordox Church’s governing synod has described the plans to afford unmarried or defacto couples the same legal rights as their married counterparts as a “catastrophic bomb” which threatened Greek society and compared the move to “prostitution.”

For a full list of the weblogs that have signed on the initiative > http://gayrightsgreece.blogspot.com/2008/03/domestic-partnership-that-discriminates.html

Delicious cod for the Greeks March 21, 2008

Posted by grhomeboy in Food Recipes, Greek Food Culture, Special Features.
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In Greece and Cyprus, there are two Sundays in the Easter season when all households cook codfish.

The first is for the religious feast of the Annunciation of the Virgin Mary celebrated on 25th March annualy [also a National Day for Greece, commemorating the Independence Day and the Greek struggle for liberation against the Ottoman empire, started on 25th March 1821] and the second is Palm Sunday, which for this year is celebrated on 20th April, according to the Orthodox Church.

On these days, every household cooks the salted favourite. The pieces of cod are dipped into a batter of flour and water, and deep fried, then served with a garlic spread.

To make the spread, wet white bread, then combine it with lots of garlic, olive oil and lemon juice and blend till creamy.

Sounds delicious, so why not try it? Of course, the excess salt would have to be soaked from the fish overnight.

Greek Church against cohabitation March 18, 2008

Posted by grhomeboy in Lifestyle, Living, Politics, Religion & Faith.
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In the most emphatic fashion, the Church of Greece’s Holy Synod yesterday declared its opposition to the government’s bid to give unmarried couples greater rights by stating that any form of relationship other than a couple married in an Orthodox Church is tantamount to “prostitution.”

The Synod’s reaction signals an about-turn for Archbishop Ieronymos, who last week appeared to accept that changing the bill was beyond the Church’s sphere of influence.

However, this was completely overturned yesterday when the Synod issued a statement saying that it did not approve of the government trying to make its proposals part of the country’s legal framework.

The new law is set to allow unmarried couples to make their relationship official and legally binding by signing a simple notarial contract. This would give each partner the same rights as if the couple were married.

The Synod said that the draft law constituted a “catastrophic bomb” being placed under the foundations of Greek society. “The Church accepts and blesses the established wedding, according to Orthodox traditions, and considers any other type of similar relationship to be prostitution” the Synod said in a statement.

Sources said that Ieronymos had wanted the Synod to adopt a more moderate approach in line with his comments last week but most of the other 12 members of the Synod seemed to favor a more outspoken stance.

“That was the opinion of one person, this is the opinion of 13,” said Bishop Anthimos of Thessaloniki, a member of the Synod, explaining the difference between Ieronymos’s position last week and this week.

UPDATE >>> 19 March 2008 >>> Ieronymos ire > Archbishop angry with wording of Synod response to cohabitation law

Archbishop Ieronymos, the Head of the Church of Greece, is upset the Holy Synod issued a statement on Monday saying that any form of partnership that is not a marriage sanctioned by the Orthodox Church is “prostitution,” sources said yesterday.

The statement was apparently composed by Bishop Anthimos of Thessaloniki, who insists that the wording was approved by the entire Synod. Sources said that Ieronymos was disturbed with the strong language used in the statement, although he did not object to the Church expressing opposition to the government’s plans to introduce a cohabitation law.

Gay Greeks cite legal loophole to tie the knot March 16, 2008

Posted by grhomeboy in Gay Life, Lifestyle.
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A lesbian organization in Greece said Thursday it has discovered a loophole in a 26-year-old law that would allow gays to marry legally.

The group, OLKE, said a 1982 law legalizing weddings in civil ceremonies refers only to participating “persons” without specifying gender. Therefore, OLKE said, it will sue Municipalities that refuse to marry gay couples.

“If the Municipalities don’t give us the OK, the next step will be legal action” OLKE spokeswoman Evangelia Vlami told The Associated Press. “There should be no impediment for us. The law refers to ‘persons,’ not a man and a woman. … So we will proceed as if there is no obstacle.”

Vlami said the group had informed the Justice Ministry of its intentions, ahead of plans by the Ministry to introduce civil partnership legislation later this year granting legal rights to unmarried couples. It was not immediately clear whether gays would be included in the new law.

Gays are protected under Greek anti-discrimination laws, but gay groups complain they face widespread discrimination, in public and at work.

Ministry officials met Thursday with Greece’s new Orthodox Church leader, Archbishop Ieronymos, to discuss the civil partnership issue. The Church is traditionally staunchly opposed to granting gays legal rights, and the idea of common-law unions. But Ieronymos, enthroned last month, has not raised any objections to the proposed reforms. “There is a need to change with the time,” Ieronymos said Wednesday.