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Two same-sex Greek couples, one gay and one lesbian, were married Tuesday in the first civil ceremonies of their kind in Greece, on the isle of Tilos.
"From this day, discrimination against gays in Greece is on the decline. We did this to encourage other gay people to take a stand," one of the newlyweds, Evangelia Vlami, told BBC News.
The mayor of Tilos, Anastassios Aliferis, married the couples despite warnings from the government that the ceremonies are illegal.
"There is no legal framework for the holding of same-sex weddings in Greece," Greek justice minister Sotiris Hatzigakis said in a statement, according to Agence France-Presse.
In March, gay and lesbian organizations discovered that a 1982 law on civil wedding ceremonies did not explicitly state marriage was between a man and woman but rather between two "persons."
The Lesbian and Gay Community of Greece (OLKE) announced its intention to test its interpretation of the law, and couples began making wedding announcements in local and national newspapers.
A poll by the Greek newspaper Ethnos Daily in April showed Greek citizens were divided on the issue. Over 48% of respondents said they oppose the legislation allowing same-sex unions, while 45.1% stated they are in favor. (The Advocate)
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