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Bill seeks to remove religion from civil marriage documents

A government bill to remove any reference to religious affiliation on civil marriage documents has been sent to the House Interior committee for discussion, it was reported on Tuesday.

The bill was prepared following recommendations of the human rights and personal data protection commissioners.

The interior ministry had said that the law amendment aims at abolishing the obligatory written statement concerning the religion of those who wish to enter into marriage, and to erase the mention of religion in the marriage certificate issued in Greek and English.

The decision, it said, took into consideration the findings of the report by the human rights commissioner, which expressed the view that the requirement of disclosure of religious beliefs through the marriage law “violates human rights, exposes persons to discrimination and violation of rights of a person in respect of privacy and freedom of thinking, conscience and religion”.

In addition, the opinion of the commissioner for personal data protection was taken into account “who reached the conclusion that the requirement of a written declaration of religion, mandatory or not, is not a legitimate practice”. The commissioner ruled that “such a declaration requirement infringes the principle of proportionality and that the issuance of a marriage certificate in its present form would expose the holder to discrimination”.

The interior ministry had launched a public consultation where interested parties had submitted their comments and suggestions to be taken into consideration when drafting the bill.

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