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social sciences

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Greece: Modern  
page: 1  2  

Legal Status of Homosexuality

For economic and cultural reasons, Greece values its membership in the European Union, but it has only grudgingly acceded to the EU's pressure to liberalize laws regulating homosexuality and it has flatly rebuffed the European Parliament's call in 2000 for member states to recognize gay and lesbian unions.

Although homosexuality per se is no longer criminalized in Greece, and lesbians are not mentioned at all in the Greek criminal code, several Greek laws discriminate against homosexuals. For example, homosexual prostitution is illegal, while there is no prohibition against heterosexual prostitution. The age of consent for homosexual activity is seventeen, while it is sixteen for heterosexuals. Moreover, vague references to "moral standards" have been used to discriminate against gay men and lesbians in both civil and criminal law, including areas such as military service, adoption, and marriage.

Sponsor Message.

International gay advocacy organizations, such as the International Lesbian and Gay Association, have frequently spoken out against Greece's discriminatory laws and have appealed to the European Union to penalize Greece for violating its charter. However, the Greek Orthodox Church exerts a great deal of influence over Greek public policy and its attitude toward homosexuality is strongly condemnatory. Without stronger pressure from the EU, Greece is unlikely to move toward equal treatment for its homosexual citizens.

Political Demonstrations

Political demonstrations are a beloved Greek tradition, and gay men and lesbians have frequently demonstrated in the streets, whether at Gay Pride demonstrations in Athens, or in lesbian contingents in feminist marches like the World March of Women Against Poverty and Violence in 2000.

One of the most dramatic public gay demonstrations occurred on November 14, 2003 after the government fined a major television company 100,000 Euros for airing a program that showed two men kissing. Dozens of queers gathered in front of the national radio and television council for a public kiss-in.

Athens hosts the Summer Olympics in 2004, and a major Gay Pride celebration is planned in the city for September, 2004.

Tina Gianoulis

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social sciences >> European Commission on Human Rights / European Court of Human Rights

The European Commission on Human Rights was the first international human rights organization to condemn homophobia; the European Court of Human Rights, which replaced the Commission, has also helped enforce glbtq rights.

social sciences >> International Lesbian and Gay Association (ILGA)

The International Lesbian and Gay Association (ILGA) is a worldwide federation of local and national groups dedicated to achieving equal rights for glbtq people.


"AKOE: The Hellenic Homosexual Liberation Movement."

Deon Greek Media Navigator.

"EOK: The Greek (Hellenic) Homosexual Community."

Jacobs, Kevyn. " Queer Life in Cool Places: Kevyn's Semester at Sea: Cyprus and Greece." The Flint Hill Observer 4. 5 (June 1998):

Kantsa, Venetia. "Greece." Lesbian Histories and Cultures. Bonnie Zimmerman, ed. New York: Garland, 2000. 343-44.


    Citation Information
    Author: Gianoulis, Tina  
    Entry Title: Greece: Modern  
    General Editor: Claude J. Summers  
    Publication Name: glbtq: An Encyclopedia of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual,
Transgender, and Queer Culture
    Publication Date: 2004  
    Date Last Updated November 16, 2006  
    Web Address  
    Publisher glbtq, Inc.
1130 West Adams
Chicago, IL   60607
    Today's Date  
    Encyclopedia Copyright: © 2002-2006, glbtq, Inc.  
    Entry Copyright © 2004, glbtq, inc.  


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