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Same-sex couples will have equal rights with heterosexual couples with cohabitation agreements

10 December 2015 / 19:12:55  GRReporter
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The new mega bill of the Ministry of Justice tabled in parliament late last night contains important changes in society. It not only extends the effects of the cohabitation agreement on same-sex couples, but also provides more rights for same-sex couples that have chosen cohabitation instead of marriage.

Despite the vehement reactions during the discussion, which were mostly due to religious reasons (the replies exchanged reaching the record number of 3,224 and the majority of them being critical towards extending the cohabitation agreement on same-sex couples), the government introduced the bill without changes. Thus, it opens the way for employment, social security, pension, inheritance, taxation and other rights to apply to couples who have signed a cohabitation agreement, which is not the case under the existing legislation.

At the same time, the bill includes provisions that allow more prisoners be released, wearing a special tracking bracelet (mothers of underage children with short sentences or mothers with long sentences whose children are disabled or have serious health problems, prisoners who are studying, like Nikos Romanos) and facilitates the transfer of prisoners with heavy sentences to prisons in rural areas, provides the chairman of the Supreme Court with disciplinary powers, increases the number of positions for magistrates, changes the examination regulations for lawyers, notaries, court registrars.

Furthermore, it provides for severe penalties for racist crimes and for the use of hate speech, and establishes a national council for combating racism and intolerance, which is obliged to draw up the appropriate policy.

Due to the cohabitation agreement, same-sex and heterosexual couples (and married people) can have claims on the right to be transferred to work in the same city, which is provided for in the code of civil servants. In addition, a Presidential Decree is to be issued within six months to regulate all other labour, social security and pension rights that a couple may have.

It is expected that couples will be granted rights to use medical care, the opportunity to receive a widow's pension, and the possibility of the family supplement being recognized (as in marriage) and the option for filing a single tax return and other opportunities are currently being explored.

Inheritance law

Recognizing family relationships and links that connect the two sides (as in marriage) by law allows the application of the relevant provisions on the family of the two cohabitants and their children as well as parental rights, the recognition of fatherhood and more.

At the same time, the law provides for the application of the relevant provisions of the law of succession after the death of one of the cohabitants, and the right to maintenance after the cohabitation agreement has been terminated, with the difference that upon the conclusion of the contract, couples will be allowed to give up their inheritance or maintenance share if they wish, being free to decide on these property relations on their own.

However, dissolving the cohabitation agreement will become more difficult, announcing the separation being no longer sufficient.

The cohabitation agreement will also provide for obtaining a residence permit and acquiring citizenship, as is the case in other countries, as well as the right for one partner to refuse to testify in court against the other partner. It will also entitle one partner to be recognized as a relative when it comes to medical issues.

Tags: Same-sex couplesHeterosexual couplesRightsCohabitation agreement
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