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Greek parliament have voted overwhelmingly to legalise same-sex civil partnerships.

In a result announced early on Wednesday 23rd December, MPs voted 193-56 in favour of the bill which sees same-sex couples afforded the right to a civil union agreement.

The Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said, “This ends a period of backwardness and shame for the state, which led to our country receiving international rulings against it. Instead of celebrating, though, maybe we should apologize to hundreds of thousands of fellow citizens that have been denied their rights all these years.”

The Orthodox Greek Church rejected the extension of the partnership, calling it a “deviation from the Church’s norm.” The bill comes two years after a ruling by the European Court of Human Rights condemned the country for not recognising the rights of same-sex couples.

Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for Europe and Central Asia, Gauri van Gulik said: “The passing of this law represents a small but hard-won victory for activists in Greece, who have fought tirelessly for years for the legal recognition of same-sex relationships.”.

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