eurel     Données sociologiques et juridiques sur la religion en Europe et au-delà


  • May 2017 : Gender Identity Bill

The Greek Parliament voted on legal gender recognition. In particular, the government bill allows people to change their gender identity on all official documents without requiring a psychiatric diagnosis or a medical intervention for its recognition.
Moreover, following many EU member states, the law allows trans individuals to determine their own desired gender from the age of 15.
The Orthodox Church of Greece condemned this law as immoral, considering it a negative development for social cohesion, as it will "destroy human beings". Moreover, the influential monastic community of Mount Athos considered the bill as a "violation of the law of God".
On the other hand, despite the Church’s negative stance, the voting of the new legal framework did not lead neither to a large-scale mobilization of the Church against its implementation, nor to the polarization of the political competition on the basis of the so-called family value system agenda.

Sources :
- Website of the Ministry of Justice (in Greek)
- See also Greek Reporter and Greek City Times.

  • 27 March 2017 : The future Constitutional Reform

The Government published its proposals on the Constitutional reform. As regards religion, it proposes the ‘distinctiveness between state and church, in full respect of the Orthodox Church and its historical role.’ Accordingly, it upholds the express protection of the state’s religious neutrality, while recognizing Orthodoxy from a historical perspective as the ‘prevailing’ religion. All other provisions of art. 3, e.g. the unity with the other Orthodox Churches, or the actual synodal system, will no longer be protected by the Constitution. The recognition of the Orthodox Church as ‘prevailing’ historically, will not have a negative effect on other religious groups (art. 3). Moreover, the proposed reform will establish civil oath as mandatory upon assuming public office (art.13).

  • March 2017 : Public opinion poll on Church and State relations

A public opinion poll was conducted between 20-23 March 2017 (Palmos Analysis for TVXS website, in Greek) with regard to religion. It reveals that 54% of respondants disagree with the idea of a full separation between church and state, while 42% agree (5% do not answer). 84% agree with the taxation of religious property (13% disagree, 4% do not answer). Meanwhile, 85% are against the abolition of religious education at school (12 disagree, and 2% do not answer).

  • 3 March 2017 : Creation of private facilities for cremation

Cremation is legal in Greece since February 2016. However, the strong opposition of Greek Orthodox Church has hindered its implementation for the past two years. The Minister of Interior P. Skourletis announced in Parliament the Government’s decision to establish a legal framework, which will allow the creation of private facilities for cremation (see ert, in Greek). Since the municipalities, which are the competent authorities to establish and run such facilities, have been reluctant to make the necessary arrangements, the proposal of a relevant bill is considered as an obligation for safeguarding the respect of the individual right of free choice.

D 14 novembre 2017    AKonstantinos Papastathis

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