Greece Is Set to Be First Orthodox Country to Allow Same-Sex Marriage

Greece was expected to legalize same-sex marriage and equal parental rights for same-sex couples on Thursday as lawmakers considered a bill that has divided Greek society and drawn vehement opposition from the country’s powerful Orthodox Church.

Although Greece would be the 16th European Union country to allow same-sex marriage, it would be the first Orthodox Christian nation to pass such a law. The country extended civil partnerships to same-sex couples in 2015, but stopped short of extending equal parental rights at the time.

Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis had pledged to pass the new measures after his landslide re-election last year. He told his cabinet last month that same-sex marriage was a matter of equal rights, noted that similar legislation was in place in more than 30 other countries, and said that there should be no “second-class citizens” or “children of a lesser God.”

In addition to recognizing same-sex marriages, the legislation clears the way for adoption and gives the same rights to both same-sex parents as a child’s legal guardian, whereas to date such rights have applied only to the biological parent. The bill does not provide same-sex couples with access to assisted reproduction or the option of surrogate pregnancies. It also does not give transgender people rights as parents.

Human rights advocates have welcomed the prospect of same-sex marriage for Greece. Maria Gavouneli, the president of the Greek National Commission for Human Rights, an independent public body, called the measure “long overdue.” And Stella Belia, the founder of Rainbow Families, an organization that supports same-sex families, called the legislation “a major victory that we’ve been fighting for for years.”

One of the first to benefit from the new law would be Lio Emmanouilidou, a 43-year-old teacher, who plans to marry her long-term partner in Thessaloniki on March 8, which is International Women’s Day. She said she was excited about the wedding and welcomed the bill as “a step in the right direction and a big victory for the community.”

We are having trouble retrieving the article content.

Please enable JavaScript in your browser settings.

Thank you for your patience while we verify access. If you are in Reader mode please exit and log into your Times account, or subscribe for all of The Times.

Thank you for your patience while we verify access.

Already a subscriber? Log in.

Want all of The Times? Subscribe.

Related Articles

Back to top button