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Greece legalises same-sex marriage after heated parliamentary debate

Greece legalises same-sex marriage after heated parliamentary debate

Image source: © canva
Natalia Witulska,
16.02.2024 16:30

Greece has become the first Orthodox country in the world to legalise same-sex marriage. After a prolonged and heated debate, the new law was passed on the night of Thursday, February 15, to Friday, February 16. The law, which the centre-right party proposed, was finally adopted.

On Friday, February 16th, Greece made history by becoming the first Orthodox country in the world to legalise same-sex marriage. The LGBT minority has been fighting for this right since 2015, as the institution of civil partnerships did not provide adequate protection for rainbow families with children.

The debate in Greek parliament lasted two days, and the motion to legalise same-sex unions was led by Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and tabled by the centre-right governing party. Despite some members of his party not fully supporting the law, it managed to pass. The new law recognises same-sex marriage and allows for the adoption of children, but it does not include the right to surrogacy for homosexual couples.

Same-sex marriages legalised in Greece

The Orthodox Church strongly opposed a new law that would legalise same-sex marriage in Greece. Archbishop Ieronymos II called for a roll-call vote to ensure transparency and enable citizens to identify which parliamentarians were for or against the legislation. Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis also faced dissent within his party and was relying on the support of left-wing opposition parties to pass the bill.

In the end, the vote was taken by roll-call as per the request of Ieronymos II. 176 MPs supported the law allowing same-sex marriages, while 76 were against it. Despite harsh criticisms from former Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, the new law was successfully passed. Samaras had previously stated that "the proposed legislation represents a fundamental departure from national law and contradicts the beliefs of millions of Greeks. The government should not have introduced it."

Historical moment in Greece

"People who have been invisible will finally be made visible around us, and with them, many children will finally find their rightful place. The reform makes the lives of several of our fellow citizens better, without taking away anything from the lives of the many," Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said in the parliament, convincing people to vote in favour of legalising same-sex marriage.

Kyriakos Mitsotakis, Greek Prime Minister
Kyriakos Mitsotakis, Greek Prime Minister (X)

The legislation regarding same-sex marriage had the backing of the opposition's left-wing parties. Stefanos Kasselakis, the head of the socialist Syriza party, went as far as to state that all of his MPs were required to vote in favour of the bill. He warned that any MP who abstains or opposes the bill will face consequences.

"This is a historic moment," Stella Belia, the head of same-sex parents' group Rainbow Families, told Reuters news agency. "This is a day of joy."

Greece has recently joined the list of 37 countries in the world and 16 countries within the European Union where same-sex couples can legally marry. This civil wedding grants equal rights and obligations to all couples, irrespective of their gender, unlike civil partnerships.

Source: bbc.com, Rzeczpospolita

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