Same-sex couples’ law passes through House, despite absentee MPs

2 December 2016
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A controversial bill expanding the rights of same-sex couples and ensuring equality in the workspace regardless of gender, religion or sexual orientation was ratified in a vote by roll call in Parliament on Friday.

Despite the absence of 73 MPs from different parties from the 300-seat House, the controversial bill was approved by 201 deputies and rejected by 21, while five lawmakers neither supported nor rejected the legislation and voted “present.”
The vote by roll call was held after socialist PASOK and centrist To Potami reacted to homophobic comments made by a deputy for junior government coalition partner Independent Greeks (ANEL).

Right-wing MP Constantinos Katsikis had railed against the Justice Ministry bill, saying that Independent Greeks would remain “faithful” to its “Christian and social beliefs as Greek patriots.”

The two opposition parties sought a vote by name in order to highlight the ideological rifts between governing left-wing SYRIZA and its nationalist partner.

Two of ANEL’s nine MPs voted in favor of the bill, another two against and the remaining five “present.”
All of the attending MPs from SYRIZA, New Democracy, PASOK, To Potami and Union of Centrists upheld the legislation, while far-right Golden Dawn voted against. The Greek Communist Party (KKE) representatives voted “present.”

Justice Minister Stavros Kontonis, meanwhile, asked the House speaker to inform him of which of the absent SYRIZA MPs had
stated their support for the bill and which were against it in their written declarations of intent.

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