Greece approves gay marriage despite pressure from the Orthodox Church

The Greek Parliament approved gay marriage and the adoption of minors by same-sex couples this Thursday. a measure promoted by the Conservative government despite frontal resistance from the influential Orthodox Church.

With 176 yes votes, 76 no votes and 2 abstentionsThanks to the votes of several opposition parties, the reform was easily adopted, as some of the 158 MPs from the ruling party, the conservative New Democracy (ND), voted against it, abstained or left the chamber.

Greece will thus become the 20th country in Europe and the first Orthodox Christian to allow same-sex couples to marry.

The head of the conservative government, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, granted freedom of choice to his party’s MPs after the most conservative wing internally opposed the measure. Since 2015, Greece recognizes civil partnerships for same-sex couplesalbeit without the same rights as heterosexual marriage.

The Prime Minister agreed to equal marriage one of his most important election promises in which he won a clear victory in June 2023 and kept his word despite strong opposition from the very influential Orthodox Church.

Mitsotakis asked repeatedly the Orthodox Church, which does not interfere in the affairs of the stateAnd this Thursday in the parliamentary debate he even referred to a passage from the Bible: “For Caesar, what is Caesar’s, and for God, what is God’s.”

The Prime Minister argued that The reform can eliminate numerous legal inconsistencies This affects many families, even if the reform has angered some of their voters.

With the new legislation, same-sex couples would have greater peace of mind as they could free themselves from worry lose custody of your children under certain circumstances.

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“Today is a day of joy and we will celebrate it properly”Lío Emanuilidu told Efe that six years ago he had a son with his partner after in vitro fertilization, but only she has rights to the minor since he has “an unknown father” to the Greek state.

Emanuilidu says he has already made all the preparations and has everything ready March 8th to get marriedespecially so that her partner can have parental responsibility over the child and be freed from the “enormous feeling of insecurity and fear” that her son will lose “both mothers in one day” if something happens to her.

However, this process is foreseen “long and expensive”as he points out, since the law requires that the non-biological parent adopt the minor in order to recognize their legal guardianship rights when it comes to lesbian couples who already have children.

LGTBI rights groups have celebrated the “historic” approval However, some of them criticize that surrogacy for homosexual couples is not approved.

The reform also leaves same-sex couples in limbo regarding access to artificial insemination treatments, Ekaterini explains to Efe. Trimmi, member of the National Committee for Human Rights and lawyer for the organization “Rainbow Families” from Greece.

Although the text does not refer to this matter, “It is understood that lesbian couples will have access to assisted reproductive techniques.” to start a family “in proportionate application” of the legislation existing for heterosexual couples, Lina Papadopulu, a law professor at the University of Thessaloniki and one of the authors of the norm, tells Efe.

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