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Pride march in Athens in June 2023 Alamy Stock Photo
LGBT Rights

Greece to legalise same-sex marriage, adoption, despite Orthodox Church demands

Orthodox Church of Greece wields significant influence in the country’s society and politics.

GREECE WILL LEGALISE marriage and adoption by same-sex couples, the country’s prime minister said today, but gave no timeframe on the taboo issue in the staunchly Orthodox Christian state.

“We will legislate equality in marriage,” Kyriakos Mitsotakis told state TV ERT.

But he added: “I want the discussion to mature in society before I submit a proposal to the cabinet.”

The bill is expected to split Mitsotakis’s conservative New Democracy party, with fewer than 100 of the party’s 158 lawmakers likely to support it according to reports.

Mitsotakis said he would not force party discipline on his lawmakers, and noted that they could abstain from the parliamentary vote.

A key obstacle on same-sex issues in Greece has been the long-standing opposition of the Orthodox Church of Greece, which wields significant influence in the country’s society and politics.

In December, the governing body of the Church issued a circular to dioceses that strongly condemned same-sex marriage and adoption.

“Children are not pets or accessories,” it said.

“No social modernisation and no political correctness can trick the natural need of children for a father and a mother,” it added.

Under the Greek constitution, single parents regardless of gender have been allowed to adopt since 1946 – but until now the second partner in a same-sex union was left out.

Under the previous leftist Syriza government, Greece in 2015 legalised civil unions for same-sex couples, becoming one of the last countries in the European Union to grant approval.

That law had resolved property and inheritance issues, but made no provision for the adoption of children.

An opinion poll by Greek pollsters Alco for private TV Alpha this week showed that 49 percent of Greeks disagree with legalising same-sex marriage, with 35% in favour.

Among New Democracy voters, negative feeling is close to 60 percent.

In November, a Pew Research poll found 49 percent of Greeks opposed the move, with 48 percent in favour.

Nearly 40 countries, or less than a fifth of the United Nation’s 193 member states, allow same-sex couples to adopt, according to the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA).

In the EU, 15 states have legalised same-sex marriage and 16 permit adoption.

© AFP 2024