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21 April, 2024
 
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Lawmakers debate landmark same-sex marriage bill

Valentine's Day session marks a pivotal moment amid opposition from the Orthodox Church

Newsroom

In an ironic twist, Greek lawmakers began a heated debate on Valentine's Day over a landmark bill proposing the legalization of same-sex marriage. If approved, Greece would become the first Orthodox Christian country to legalize such unions.

The parliamentary session on Valentine's Day comes amid strong opposition and protests from the Orthodox Church, highlighting a shift in public opinion, which, though divided, is narrowly in favor of the reform.

Previous governments hesitated to confront the Orthodox Church, legalizing civil partnerships for gay couples in 2015 but deferring promises to extend those rights.

The proposed bill would grant same-sex couples full parental rights, although it restricts male partners from seeking children born in Greece through surrogacy.

The journey toward legalizing same-sex civil marriage in Greece has been long and contentious. Previous governments hesitated to confront the Orthodox Church, legalizing civil partnerships for gay couples in 2015 but deferring promises to extend those rights.

Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, now in his second term, is pushing through a series of reforms, including tackling fan violence in sports and ending the state monopoly on higher education.

The Greek church vehemently opposes the marriage bill, viewing it as a threat to the traditional family model. The Holy Synod of senior bishops and religious groups have actively protested, considering support for the traditional family as crucial to addressing declining birth rates.

The church's stance aligns with other Orthodox countries, particularly in Eastern and Southern Europe, where public acceptance of gay rights has been more apprehensive than in Western Europe.

LGBTQ+ rights campaigners hail the bill as a milestone reform, recognizing same-sex couples as a family unit. However, partners who are not biological parents face a more time-consuming guardianship process through adoption compared to other European countries.

Transgender activists seek additional changes to family law to address remaining legal challenges.

Despite the political complexity surrounding same-sex marriage, the Mitsotakis government needs opposition votes for the bill to pass. Opposition leader Stefanos Kasselakis, the first openly gay leader of a major Greek political party, supports the reform, securing a comfortable majority with left-wing and centrist votes.

Political parties on the far-right, aligned with religious protests, may not topple the bill but aim to draw support away from Mitsotakis' traditional conservative base.

The vote on the same-sex marriage bill is scheduled for Thursday.

[Information sourced from AP News]

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Cyprus  |  Greece  |  LGBTQ+

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