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Greek Prime Minister threatened with excommunication by Orthodox church

Greek Prime Minister threatened with excommunication by Orthodox church

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Weronika Paliczka,
07.03.2024 14:15

The Greek Prime Minister, Kiriakos Mitsotakis, is facing threats of excommunication from representatives of the Orthodox Church. This comes after his decision to legalise same-sex marriage, which has received severe criticism from the Church. It's worth noting that Greece marks the first Orthodox country to also allow members of the LGBT community to adopt children.

European countries remain divided on the issue of legalising same-sex unions. While same-sex marriages are recognised in Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom, there are still countries such as Belarus, Bulgaria, Croatia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Montenegro, Poland, Serbia, and Slovakia where only marriages between men and women are allowed.

Greece legalises same-sex unions

On the night of February 15-16, 2024, the Greek LGBT community breathed a sigh of relief as the Greek Parliament passed a law recognising same-sex marriages. The new regulation also paved the way for same-sex couples to adopt children. However, the legislation does not allow homosexual couples to use surrogacy. The discussion on introducing the new legislation lasted two days and was initiated by the centre-right party, led by Prime Minister Kiriakos Mitsotakis.

Greece has recently become the first Orthodox country in the world to legalise same-sex marriages. However, the decision did not sit well with the heads of the Orthodox Church. Archbishop Ieronymos II of Athens demanded a roll-call vote so that citizens could know which parliamentarians were in favour of and against same-sex marriage. In the end, 176 MPs were in favour of legalising same-sex marriage, while 76 politicians were against it. Two abstained from voting.

The Greek Prime Minister did not have unanimous support for the bill within his own party. He hoped that the left-wing opposition parties would vote in favour of legalisation, and this assumption turned out to be correct.

"The reform we are passing improves the lives of many of our fellow citizens. This law should unite, not divide," said Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis before the vote in the Greek Parliament.

Orthodox Church threatens Greek MPs

Orthodox Church clergy call for ostracism against "immoral lawmakers", referring to MPs who supported the Prime Minister's motion. Ecclesiastical authorities on the island of Corfu have announced that two local MPs who voted in favour of legalising same-sex marriage will be banned from participating in any religious rites, The Guardian reports.

"For us, these two deputies cannot consider themselves active members of the church," the clergy wrote in a statement. "We exhort them to repent for their impropriety."

Archbishop Ieronymos II called the bill "pure evil". The head of the Church suggested that a referendum should be held on the subject of same-sex marriage. Another bishop, Ambrosios, in an open letter, called for the excommunication of Mitsotakis and the MPs who supported the law.

"Our Orthodox church is under siege … A revolution should be called against all those diluting the law of God. The protagonist of this moral crime, the prime minister of Greece and the 175 deputies in the Greek parliament should be excommunicated," he wrote.

Source: the Guardian

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