Greece LGBT Laws

Age of Consent Legislation/Cases/References
1. National

Consensual sex between same-sex couples is lawful at aged seventeen (17). The legal age of consent for sexual activity between opposite sex couples is fifteen (15) years [R1.1].

‘Sodomy’, Article 347 of the Greek Penal Code (Law 1492/1950, 17 August 1950, in effect as of 01 January 1951)

b) Sodomy committed by an adult through the seduction of a person under seventeen (17) years of age, or for financial gain, shall be punished with imprisonment of at least three (3) months.

The criminal prosecution is exercised ex officio.’

R1.1 Interpol: Sexual offences against children Spring 06
Asylum, Immigration, Refugees Legislation/Cases/References
1. National

In March 2008, the government decided not to deport a 40-year-old man back to Iran, where he was arrested, beaten and tortured in his home country because he is gay [R1.1].

R1.1 PinkNews: Gay Iranian Spared Deportation from Greece 31 MAR 08
Civil Unions, Partners: Domestic, Registered Legislation/Cases/References
1. National

On 02 December 2016, the Greek Parliament reportedly passed a bill 201 to 21 with 73 absentees, expanding the rights of same-sex couples as well as ensuring equality in the workspace regardless of gender, religion or sexual orientation [R1.5].

On 22 December 2015, 193 lawmakers in the 300-seat parliament voted in favour of a human-rights’ bill which allows civil partnership agreements between same-sex couples. The bill does not allow same-sex couples to marry or adopt children, as in other countries, and does not give them similar pension, tax and health rights and is expected to take effect early next year once it is published in the government gazette [R1.4].

On 09 November 2015, it was reported that a new draft law to be tabled in the Greek parliament will extend the same rights (except the right to adopt children) presently available to married couples to same sex couples choose to enter a civil partnership [R1.3].

On 09 February 2015, Justice Minister Nikolaos Paraskevopoulos told parliament that civil unions, introduced in 2008, would be extended to gay couples but did not say when [R1.2].

In November 2013, the Government abandoned plans to comply with a European Court of Human Rights ruling [C2.2], [R2.1] to open its heterosexual civil unions scheme to same-sex couples after receiving a backlash from conservative MPs within the ruling coalition [R1.1].

In November 2008, Greece adopted a law creating “civil unions” as an alternative to marriage. However, the first article restricts such unions to “two physical individuals of different sex who have reached the age of majority” [R2.1].

2. Courts & Tribunals

On 05 October 2018, it was reported that the Council of State announced that it has ruled as constitutional and in line with European law legislation the law that extends the cohabitation agreement to gay couples as well, saying that the private life of people, including their sexual preference, is a basic part of their character and must be respected in a democratic society [R2.3].

On 07 November 2013, the European Court of Human Rights ruled in Vallianatos and Mylonas v. Greece and C.S. and others v. Greece that Greece had violated the European Convention on Human Rights by excluding same-sex couples from a “civil union”, restricted in Greece to heterosexual couples [C2.2], [R2.1].

R1.5 GreekReporter: Parliament Passes Same-Sex Couples and Equal Rights Law 02 DEC 16
R1.4 ReutersUK: Greece allows civil partnership for same-sex couples 23 DEC 15
R1.3 GreekReporter: New Greek Draft Law Allows Civil Partnership Rights to Same Sex Couples 09 NOV 15
R1.2 GayStarNews:Greece vows to recognize gay couples 10 FEB 15
R1.1 GayStarNews: Greek Government backs down on civil unions 29 NOV 13
R2.3 GreekReporter: Cohabitation Agreement For LGBT Couples Constitutional, Greece’s Council of State Says 05 OCT 18
C2.2 Judgment: Vallianatos and Mylonas v. Greece and C.S. and others v. Greece Applications 29381/09 and 32684/09 , 07 NOV 13
R2.1 ILGA-Europe: ECHR: Greek civil unions law only for heterosexual couples violates European human rights law 07 NOV 13
Discrimination Legislation/Cases/References
See also: [CIVIL UNIONS]
1. National

On 02 December 2016, the Greek Parliament reportedly passed a bill 201 to 21 with 73 absentees, expanding the rights of same-sex couples as well as ensuring equality in the workspace regardless of gender, religion or sexual orientation [R1.2].

In 2005, discrimination in employment based on sexual orientation was made unlawful [R1.1].

2. Courts & Tribunals:

In July 2008, a Greek court ruled that a gay rights group can use the word lesbian in its name, stating that the people from the island of Lesbos do not have sole claim to the word [R2.1].

R1.5 GreekReporter: Parliament Passes Same-Sex Couples and Equal Rights Law 02 DEC 16
R1.1 ILGA: State-Sponsored Homophobia PDF 382.87kb, MAY 08
R2.1 The Advocate: Greek Islanders Lose “Lesbian” Case 23 JUL 08
Gender Identity, Intersex,
Transgender, Transexual
1. National

On 10 October 2017, the parliament reportedly voted 171-129 to pass a controversial gender recognition law that will allow transgender individuals as young as 17 to legally change their gender on government-issued documentation without undergoing mental or physical medical procedures [R1.1]

R1.1 TheBayAreaReporter: Greece passes gender recognition law 12 OCT 17
Hate Crime Legislation/Cases/References
1. National

On 08 March 2013, Article 66 of the Penal Code was reportedly amended to read “Performing an act motivated by nationalistic, racial or religious hatred, or hatred due to different sexual orientation or gender identity against a victim, is considered an aggravating circumstance and the sentence cannot be suspended” [R1.1].

R1.1 GayStarNews: Gender identity included in hate crime law in Greece 08 MAR 13
HIV, Aids Legislation/Cases/References
1. National:

On 03 July 2013, it was reported that health minister, Adonis Georgiadis, had re-introduced a law that gives the police powers to carry out forced HIV testing with results published by media including, personal details and photos [R1.1].

R1.1 GNN/MCV: Greece to enforce HIV testing 03 JUL 13
Homosexuality, Sodomy Legislation/Cases/References
1. National:

In 1951, consensual sex between same-sex couples was decriminalised [R1.1].

R1.1 ILGA: State-Sponsored Homophobia PDF 382.87kb, MAY 08
Marriage Legislation/Cases/References
See also: [CIVIL UNIONS]
1. National

In June 2008, two same-sex Greek couples, one gay and one lesbian, were married in the first civil ceremonies of their kind in Greece, on the isle of Tilos [R1.3].

See now: 2. Courts & Tribunals [R2.1] below.

In April 2008, the Greek Ministry of Justice reportedly agreed to establish a working group to analyse the potential impact of recognising same-sex civil marriages in Greece [R1.2].

In March 2008, gay and lesbian organizations discovered that a 1982 law on civil wedding ceremonies did not explicitly state marriage was between a man and woman but rather between two “persons” [R1.3].

In July 2005, the National Human Rights Committee recommended the creation of a civil unions registry for same-sex couples and the leader of the Synaspismos Coalition leftist party reportedly promised to support same-sex marriage [R1.1].

2. Courts & Tribunals

On 30 November 2017, the Greek Supreme Court judges reportedly annulled a same-sex marriage conducted in 2008 by the mayor of the tiny Aegean island of Tilos. An appeal to the European Court of Human Rights is expected [R2.4].

On 16 March 2015, Supreme Court Judge Charalambos Machairas said unions between same-sex couples are groundless and that the Court should sustain a previous ruling by an appeals court nullifying the marriage of two women by the former municipal authority on the island of Tilos [R2.3].

In May 2009, the prosecutor of nearby island Rhodes, which has jurisdiction over Tilos ruled that two gay marriages performed on the island of Tilos are invalid [R2.2].

In October 2008, the case of two same-sex couples who took advantage of a loophole in Greek law and got married on the island of Tilos will be heard by a Greek court [R2.1].

R1.3 The Advocate: First Same-Sex Weddings Held in Greece 31 MAY-04 JUN
R1.2 bnews: Greek Marriage 03 APR 08
R1.1 MCV: Greece Weighs in on Gay Marriage 22 JUL 05
R2.4 Court annuls same-sex marriage 30 NOV 17
R2.3 GreekReporter: Supreme Court Judge Calls Same-Sex Union Groundless 17 MAR 15
R2.2 PinkNews: Greek court annuls first gay marriages 06 MAY 09
R2.1 PinkNews: Greeks Protest for Same-sex Marriage Ahead of Trial 29 SEP 08
Military Legislation/Cases/References
1. National:

Homosexuality is banned among officers in the Greek armed forces [R1.1].

If an officer is found to be homosexual he or she is forced to resign his commission. Conscripts may be exempted if they are gay, although they may insist on serving [R1.1].

2. Courts & Tribunals:

In July 1999, the Defence Ministry was ordered by the Council of Europe to pay damages to a Greek Cypriot homosexual whose rights were violated by the law outlawing homosexuality between consenting male adults which was amended in May 1998 [R2.1].

R1.1 Associated Press: World’s Militaries and Gay Stance 12 JAN 00
R2.1 Cyprus Mail: Defence Ministry Told to Pay Damages to Gay Man 04 JUL 99
Parenting, Adoption, Fostering Legislation/Cases/References
1. National

On 09 May 2018, the Hellenic Parliament reportedly voted 161-103 to pass Article 8 of the draft law on adoption and fostering that gives the opportunity to couples of the same sex living under a civil partnership to become foster partners. However, the legislation clearly states they cannot adopt children [R1.1].

R1.1 TheNationalHerald: Article Allowing Same Sex Couples to Become Foster Parents Passes in Parliament 09 MAY 18