A gay and lesbian rights organisation is threatening to sue local authorities in Greece who refuse to marry same-sex couples after discovering that a 1982 law on civil wedding ceremonies refers only to “persons.”

The Lesbian and Gay Community of Greece (OLKE) has announced its intention to test their interpretation of the law.

The Greek government is planning to grant new legal rights to unmarried couples later this year, though it is not yet clear if gay and lesbian couples will be included.

The Greek Orthodox church, which still retains considerable influence, is opposed to equality for gay couples.

“If the (municipalities) don’t give us the OK, the next step will be legal action,” OLKE spokeswoman Evangelia Vlami told Associated Press.

“There should be no impediment for us.

“The law refers to ‘persons,’ not a man and a woman. So we will proceed as if there is no obstacle.”

Despite its membership of the EU, Greece fails to provide many rights that LGBT people in other member states enjoy, such as an unequal age of consent.