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Greek Parliament Legalizes Same-Sex Civil Unions

The bill passed overwhelming in a late-night session. "This is an important day for human rights," said Prime Minister Alex Tsipras.

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The Parliament of Greece overwhelmingly approved a bill to open civil unions to same-sex couples late Tuesday with a vote of 193 to 56.

The law does not grant all the rights of marriage — and does not include parental rights — but it address matters like insurance and inheritance and excludes matters including parental rights. But getting this law took years of lobbying and an order of the European Court of Human Rights, which ruled in 2013 that it was a violation of international law to exclude same-sex couples from taking advantage of a civil union status already open to opposite-sex couples.

"This is an important day for human rights," said Prime Minister Alex Tsipras, Reuters reported, erasing a "a circle of embarrassment for the state."

Konstantina Kosmidou, who sits on the board of the Greek LGBT organization OLKE and the European branch of the International Lesbian and Gay Association, told BuzzFeed News ahead of the vote that activists plan to bring new lawsuits to the European Court of Human Rights to try to force Greece to address other inequalities in the law.

J. Lester Feder is a world correspondent for BuzzFeed News and is based in Washington, DC. His secure PGP fingerprint is 2353 DB68 8AA6 92BD 67B8 94DF 37D8 0A6F D70B 7211

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