Thursday, December 29

Huzzah for Ireland! Ντροπή σου, Ελλάδα!

Not to be outdone by Great Britain, Ireland this week announced its intentions to give legal recognition to same-sex and cohabitating heterosexual couples in long-term relationships. Although the new law, which is likely to go into effect in 2006, stops short of allowing same-sex couples to marry, it does bestow on them a number of important benefits, including joint income tax, inheritance tax, gift tax and property rights, next-of-kin designation, social welfare, and travel rights.

Kudos, Ireland.

Greece, on the other hand, seems to prefer the more ignoble example of the United States and Australia when it comes to legal recognition for same-sex couples. Last week, Greece’s Justice Minister Anastasios Papaligouras said that Greece is not yet ready to accept the fact that there are same-sex couples living in its midst.

“Any legislative initiative cannot exceed the tolerance and the sentiment of what is generally acceptable in any society,” Papaligouras said. “Every change has to mature in society before it can be decreed as law.” Papaligouras went on to say that a committee was examining possible changes to the law in the case of heterosexual couples who choose to cohabitate without marrying, but that there were no plans to extend benefits to same-sex couples. I guess it makes more sense to stigmatize them and pretend they don’t exist.

This is certainly good news to the rabidly homophobic Church of Greece, whose head, Archbishop Christodoulos, has referred to homosexuality as an “illness.” Similarly, the equally backward Russian Orthodox Church recently suspended relations with the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Sweden after Swedish Lutherans decided to establish an official ceremony blessing same-sex unions.

“We have received with great disappointment and grief the news that not only does the Lutheran Church of Sweden not oppose so-called homosexual marriages, but has even ruled to establish an official blessing ceremony… [because] the testimonies of the Holy Writing leave us no doubt that homosexuality is considered a sin and a ‘confusion’,” the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church said in a recent statement.

Of course, it’s difficult to take such statements seriously (and not just because of the amount of homosexual activity that occurs in Orthodox monasteries and convents in both Greece and Russia) when, in addition to attacking Swedish Lutherans, the Moscow Patriarchate has also placed Russian Catholics on its “enemies list” simply because they celebrate Christmas on December 25, rather than on January 7, the day that the majority of Russians celebrate Christmas. Church leaders went so far as to plan a protest march for Christmas Eve, though I hear it was called off. The rally, which was entitled “In Defense of Russian Christmas,” was organized with the help of the ultra-nationalist and pro-Kremlin Nashi youth movement (I don’t think the similarity to “Nazi” is intentional). The conflict over Christmas stems from the fact that the Russian Orthodox Church (along with a handful of others) adheres to the Julian calendar as opposed to the Gregorian calendar followed by Russian Catholics and the rest of Christendom. Whatever.

Maybe Lenin had the right idea.


P.S. The guy in the big hat is Aleksey II, Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia, with his buddy, Russian President Vladimir Putin.

2 Comments:

Blogger Irish Man said...

I do not mind same sex marrage, though there are not many gays in Ireland.

5:09 PM  
Anonymous Sean said...

That's fantastic news! (I'm a dual citizen of the US and Ireland). Could you please tell me where you read the article?

5:35 PM  

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