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Greece becomes first Orthodox Christian country to legalise same-sex marriage

todayFebruary 16, 2024 6

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Greece becomes first Orthodox Christian country to legalise same-sex marriage

Greece has legalised same-sex marriage – becoming the first Orthodox Christian-majority country to do so.

The landmark bill, drafted by prime minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis’ centre-right government, passed on Thursday night with a cross-party majority of 176–76 votes.

It also allows same-sex couples to legally adopt children, but will not allow gay men to acquire biological children through surrogate mothers in Greece.

Mr Mitsotakis described the passing of the bill as a “milestone for human rights” – one which showed Greece as a “progressive and democratic country, passionately committed to European values”.

“People who have been invisible will finally be made visible around us. And with them, many children [will] finally find their rightful place,” he said.

Outside Greece’s parliament, supporters of the bill waving rainbow banners cheered loudly and hugged as the result of the vote was announced.

“This took a long time to be adopted in our country… but at least it happened and that’s what is important,” said a man who only gave his first name, Nikolas.

“We are no longer invisible.”

Members of the LGBTQ+ community and supporters celebrate in front of the Greek parliament, after the vote in favour of a bill which approved allowing same-sex civil marriages, in Athens, Greece, February 15, 2024. REUTERS/Louisa Gouliamaki

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Pic: Reuters

However, the vote came amid protests from those opposing the reform, with people holding prayer books and religious icons near to the parliament.

The bill had faced strong opposition from Greece’s powerful Orthodox Christian church, whose officials claimed the reforms could erode traditional family values.

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Archbishop Ieronymos, the head of the Orthodox Church, claimed the bill would “corrupt the homeland’s social cohesion”.

Opinion polls ahead of the vote had suggested that most Greeks supported the reform by a narrow margin.

Mr Mitsotakis’s government was able to pass the bill with the support of politicians from four left-wing parties, including the main opposition, Syriza.

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis prepares to speak at the Greek parliament, ahead of a vote on a bill which legalises same-sex civil marriage, in Athens, Greece, February 15, 2024. REUTERS/Louisa Gouliamaki

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Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis. Pic: Reuters

Three small far-right parties and the Communist Party rejected the bill.

Same-sex civil partnerships have been allowed in Greece since 2015.

However, the law only conferred legal guardianship to the biological parents of children in those relationships, leaving their partners in a bureaucratic limbo.

Written by: Newsroom

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