Greek novelist and lawyer are the first same-sex couple to wed at Athens city hall

A Greek novelist and his partner, a lawyer, became the first same-sex couple to get married in Athens’ city hall since the country legalised same-sex marriages three weeks ago in a major change for the Orthodox Christian nation.

The civil wedding between Petros Hadjopoulos, who writes under the pen name Auguste Corteau, and lawyer Anastasios Samouilidis was celebrated by Athens’ mayor on Thursday. Two dozen guests attended the event in the Greek capital’s city hall.

Hadjopoulos described the event as “a dream that we didn’t dare entertain when we were in our teens”. He said there was a certain “symbolism” in their gesture.

“I understand that [marriage] doesn’t work for everyone, but for people who grew up in Greece in the 1980s and 90s, when guys like us lived a very lonely existence, even symbols have a great value,” he said.

Athens’ mayor Haris Doukas described the ceremony as a “historic moment,” adding that “every citizen of Athens […] should be able to live and love in the way they choose”.

Lawyer Anastasios Samouilidis, left, hugs his husband, Greek author Petros Hadjopoulos, who uses the pen name Auguste Corteau, as guests watch, after their wedding in Athens.

Same-sex marriage was legalised by the Greek parliament with a vote on February 15 despite strong opposition from the socially conservative Orthodox Church. On Tuesday, Church officials on the island of Corfu imposed a religious ban on two local lawmakers who voted for the reform.

The recently passed law also gives full parental rights to married same-sex partners with children, though it doesn’t allow same-sex couples to use surrogacy in Greece.

Same-sex marriage is still far from being legalised in much of the European Union. Several member countries – including Bulgaria, Croatia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Slovakia – currently have constitutional provisions against it.

Same-sex marriage is currently legal in the following European countries: Spain, Andorra, Portugal, France, Luxembourg, the UK, Iceland, Norway, the Netherlands, Finland, Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Belgium, Austria, Slovenia, Switzerland, Malta, Estonia and Greece.

Several others allow legal recognition for some form of civil union or partnership.

AdvertisementThe new Emirates Premium Economy has arrived on the latest Emirates A380 Emirates Get the best value from your summer holiday with exclusive offers and discounts across Dubai and the UAE with Emirates Pass