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23 May, 2024
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Greece's parliament approves same-sex marriage rights

Prime Minister hails progress as Greece passes same-sex marriage law

Kathimerini Greece Newsroom

Greece’s 300-member Parliament approved the bill granting same-sex couples equal rights in marriage in a roll call vote on Thursday night. The reform extends full parental rights to gay couples but will not allow for medically assisted reproduction through a surrogate.

The bill was voted on by 254 lawmakers, with 176 voting in favor and 76 against.

It was backed by lawmakers of conservative ruling New Democracy, main opposition SYRIZA, socialist PASOK, New Left and Course of Freedom. Parties to the right of New Democracy – Greek Solution, Niki and Spartiates voted against – as did communist KKE.

“People who have been invisible will finally be made visible around us. And with them, many children will finally find their rightful place,” Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis told lawmakers during a debate on the bill. “The reform makes the lives of a number of our fellow citizens better, without depriving the lives of the many of anything.”

Mitsotakis said the bill will “put an end to an inequality” and “protect the self-evident rights of children.”

“The two parents in same-sex couples do not yet have the same opportunities, legally, to provide care for their children. To pick them up from school, to travel with them, to accompany them to the hospital,” he added.

Former New Democracy prime minister Antonis Samaras slammed the bill as “dangerous,” arguing that it would significantly alter family law. The conservative MP said the bill’s foundation was rooted in a fabrication, asserting that “same-sex marriage does not constitute a human right.”

Regarding the granting of parenthood rights to same-sex couples, he maintained that “a child requires both a father and a mother.” “The proposed legislation represents a fundamental departure from national law and contradicts the beliefs of millions of Greeks,” he said.

Greece’s main opposition party SYRIZA voted in favor, noting however that the legislation is “incomplete.”

“SYRIZA’s parliamentary group has been ready for a long time to take this step,” spokesman Sokratis Famellos said and wondered if the the ruling conservatives are equally ready, considering the vocal opposition of prominent MPs to the bill.

SYRIZA MP Pavlos Polakis was not present for the vote, citing a surgery he had to perform on a relative on the island of Crete.

In a post on Facebook, Polakis, who is a surgeon, said, “I have a job and a very serious one that saves lives.”

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