Greece’s Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras was interviewed by Antivirus magazine on Tuesday about the rights of same sex couples, the LGBTQI (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer or Questioning, and Intersex) community, the resistance to same sex marriage laws and gender identity legislation.
Tsipras noted that Greek Parliament passed a civil partnership law which helped "transform the lives of many people but could not proceed on the issue of same-sex marriage as it would’ve failed, largely" saying it was a matter of timing and preferred a more measured approach one step at a time.
"A progressive majority was formed in the Greek Parliament that traversed most of the parties horizontally and reflected the progress that our society has made as a whole," he noted. That single act of legislation, he added, had helped transform the lives of a great many people.
"We did not strive for the governance of the country only to deal with the problems that resulted in the unprecedented crisis of recent years. Our goal was to try to change the lives of all citizens, including in the 'small' and day-to-day issues. For Greece to become a modern European country in all things, not just the currency," he said.
Pressed on the issue of gender identity, Tsipras noted the draft unveiled by the government on the matter has been submitted for public consultation and eventually once passed into law will allow those that don't identify with their birth gender to correct this with a minimum of bureaucratic procedures and without mandatory medical or psychiatric evaluations.
If passed, the draft legislation will also allow individuals to change the sex on their identity documents through the fast, discreet and confidential process of voluntary jurisdiction, open to all Greek citizens that wish to change some detail of the identity information, without a judge having the power to set additional criteria.
"I believe this is an important as well as fundamental step for modernisation but also deeper equality between all citizens. In this way we align ourselves with the European Convention on Human Rights and the International Charter of Human Rights. The question, of course, is why we are aligning ourselves with such a great delay," he added.
These two acts of legislation were a debt owed not just to the LGBTQI community but "to ourselves, our ideas and our struggles for equality and justice," Tsipras said.
Tsipras added that the Greek State owed an apology to the thousands of citizens that it treated unequally and in some cases inhumanely for years and this was why he had apologised on behalf of the Greek State in Parliament when the bill of the civil partnership was passed.