February 16, 2024

Greece Makes History: Legalizes Same-Sex Marriage and Adoption

Greece Makes History: Legalizes Same-Sex Marriage and Adoption

In a historic move, Greece has become the first Christian Orthodox-majority country to embrace marriage equality for same-sex couples. The landmark decision, which also allows same-sex couples to adopt children, marks a significant step towards inclusivity and social progress in the nation. However, the decision has not been without controversy, with opposition from the powerful Orthodox Church and a divided public response.

Parliamentary Vote: The pivotal moment came after a parliamentary vote on Thursday, February 15, 2024, where a majority of 176 members supported the legalization of same-sex marriage, while 76 members opposed the bill. Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, a strong advocate for the legislation, emphasized that the new law aims to eliminate a significant inequality in the country. Despite resistance from within his own center-right governing party, Mitsotakis garnered support from opposition parties to secure the bill's passage.1

Orthodox Church Opposition: The decision has sparked intense resistance, notably from the influential Orthodox Church. Archbishop Ieronymos, the head of the Church, expressed concern that the measure could "corrupt the homeland's social cohesion." This sentiment was echoed by protestors in Athens, who gathered in Syntagma Square to voice their opposition. Banners, crosses, prayers, and passages from the Bible were displayed during the demonstration, illustrating the depth of disagreement within the country.

Prime Minister's Vision: During the parliamentary debate preceding the vote, Prime Minister Mitsotakis asserted that the reform would bring visibility to those who had been invisible in society. He emphasized that the new law would improve the lives of fellow citizens without diminishing the lives of others. Mitsotakis called it a bold step towards equality and a testament to Greece's commitment to progress.2

Impact on LGBTQ Community: The vote has been celebrated by LGBTQ organizations in Greece, marking a historic moment for the community. Stella Belia, the head of Rainbow Families, a group advocating for same-sex parents, expressed joy over the decision. With the legalization of same- sex marriage and adoption, Greece joins the ranks of European countries that have embraced inclusivity and equal rights for all.

Impact on Greek Citizenship: Beyond the legal recognition of same-sex marriage and adoption, the decision holds significant implications for Greek citizenship. With the legalization of same-sex marriage, couples will now have the right to register their marriage officially. Moreover, they will be able to register the birth of their adopted children, thereby granting them Greek citizenship. This aspect of the law represents a crucial advancement in recognizing the rights and identities of same-sex couples and their families within Greek society. By extending citizenship privileges to same-sex couples and their children, Greece takes a progressive step towards inclusivity and equality for all its citizens.

Greece's Position in Europe: While the majority of European Union members have already legalized same-sex marriage, Greece has lagged behind, mainly due to resistance from the Orthodox Church. With this groundbreaking decision, Greece becomes the first country in south-eastern Europe to achieve marriage equality, signaling a positive shift towards acceptance and progress.

Greece's legalization of same-sex marriage and adoption represents a historic step towards equality and inclusivity. Despite opposition from the Orthodox Church and internal political challenges, the country has chosen to embrace the principles of fairness and justice. As Greece joins the growing list of nations recognizing the rights of the LGBTQ community, it sends a powerful message of progress and acceptance to the rest of the world.

1 BBC Greece legalizes same-sex marriage
2 CNN Greece legalizes same-sex marriage in a first for an Orthodox Christian country

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