Amnesty Wants More Gay Rights

Gay rights supporters gather outside Greece's Parliament to voice approval of a civil partnership bill being debated by lawmakers, in central Athens, on Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2015. Greece's left-wing government wants to extend the partnerships to same-sex couples despite strong opposition from conservative bishops in the Greek Orthodox Church. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)

The human rights group Amnesty International said legalizing civil partnerships for gay couples was an “historic for Greece but more needs to be done.

The group called for more rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) persons it said still face hostility in the country.

“Despite this first step, LGBTI people in Greece still live in a climate of hostility from which the authorities are failing to protect them adequately,” said Gauri van Gulik, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for Europe and Central Asia.

“Physical attacks are on the rise, hate speech is common and goes unchecked by the authorities. Even displays of affection between same-sex couples are censored on television,” she said, according to media reports.

Amnesty also pointed out that the law offers no gender recognition to transgender people.

Greek lawmakers on Dec. 23 voted 193-56 in favor of the bill to extend civil partnerships to same-sex couples, but provisions regarding family law that could pave the way for adoption applications by gay couples were dropped before the vote.

Conservative Bishops in Greece’s powerful Orthodox Church vehemently opposed the law, arguing that it undermined the institution of family.

“Homosexuality is a deviation from the laws of nature. It is a social crime, a sin. Those who experience or support it are not normal people,” said Bishop Amvrosios of the southern town of Kalavryta, where church bells tolled  in opposition to the bill.