Greece Makes History as First Orthodox Nation to Legalize Same-Sex Marriage

Greece on same sex marriage
Representative Image: NBC

Greece Makes Historic Move Towards Same-Sex Marriage Legalization

In a significant milestone, Greece has become the first Orthodox Christian nation to legalize same-sex marriage and adoption. On February 15, a total of 176 members of the Athens parliament voted in favor of the groundbreaking reform, despite objections voiced by the Greek Orthodox Church. Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis hailed the bill as a step toward ending significant inequality in Greek society.

Members and allies of the LGBTQ+ community celebrated the long-awaited vote as a historic moment of progress. Stella Belia, an activist, expressed joy over the outcome, stating, “It’s a historic moment. A lot of us weren’t sure it would ever come. We have waited years for this.”

With this move, Greece joins the ranks of 36 other countries worldwide that have legalized same-sex marriage and adoption. PM Mitsotakis emphasized that decisions made by the Greek State are separate from theological beliefs, underscoring the secular nature of the legislation.

Challenges and Limitations Remain

However, while the legalization of same-sex marriage was applauded, activists noted certain limitations within the legislation. The law permits single women and heterosexual couples to access assisted reproduction, excluding same-sex couples. Psychologist and LGBTQ+ mental health advocate Elena Christidi highlighted concerns about the language used during parliamentary discussions, describing it as “problematic” and potentially hurtful to marginalized communities.

Syriza party leader Stefanos Kasselakis, who played a pivotal role in supporting the bill, acknowledged its imperfections. Notably, Kasselakis, Greece’s first openly gay political leader, is married to Tyler McBeth, an American. He pointed out that the legislation still fails to grant same-sex couples the right to become parents through surrogacy.

Resistance from the Orthodox Church

Throughout the legislative process, the Greek Orthodox Church vehemently opposed the bill, even threatening to excommunicate lawmakers who supported same-sex marriage. The Church’s resistance was reflected in a report issued by the Holy Synod of the Hierarchy of the Church of Greece, asserting its stance on moral issues despite state legislation.

Despite these challenges, PM Mitsotakis affirmed the Greek State’s commitment to progress, citing past disagreements with the Church on civil matters. He maintained that such changes have been necessary and have not adversely affected society or the relationship between the State and the Church.

Repurposed article originally published in She the People

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