Vallianatos and others v. Greece  | 2013

Same-sex couples win the right to enter civil partnerships

Dedicated to the reverential eyes of all couples in love, this decision of the ECHR profoundly changed the perception of same-sex couple love from mere sex to family love.

Grigoris Vallianatos - Photo: Grigoris Vallianatos (private collection)


Grigoris Vallianatos and his partner Nikolaos believed that Greece’s law on civil partnerships was discriminatory because it excluded same-sex couples.

The 2008 law allowed for a form of official union, other than marriage, but only for different-sex couples.

Grigoris and Nikolaos – along with several other same-sex couples – decided to take a case to the European Court of Human Rights challenging the Greek government’s policy.

Judgment of the European Court of Human Rights

The European court found that Greece had failed to show why it was necessary to prevent same-sex couples from entering civil partnerships. It ruled that Greece had discriminated against Grigoris and Nikolaos and the other couples.


In response to the European court’s judgment in Grigoris and Nikolaos’s case, the Greek Government passed a new law in 2015 that gave same-sex couples the right to enter civil partnerships.