Greece: First Orthodox Country To Legalize Same-Sex Marriage

The Greek parliament on Thursday approved legislation that legalizes same-sex marriage, marking a significant triumph for human rights within the country and making Greece as the first Christian Orthodox-majority country to embrace marriage equality.

Following the decision, which received support from 176 out of 300 lawmakers in parliament with 76 opposing, same-sex couples will now also be legally permitted to adopt children.

Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis stated that the new law would “boldly abolish a serious inequality.”

The decision has ignited controversy across the nation, with the influential Orthodox Church leading the opposition. A significant demonstration occurred in Athens.

Protesters in the capital’s Syntagma Square waved banners, clutched crosses, recited prayers, and chanted biblical verses.

Archbishop Ieronymos, the leader of the Orthodox Church, criticized the law, arguing that it would “corrupt the homeland’s social cohesion.”

The legislation only needed a majority vote in the 300-seat parliament to be enacted.

Although a proponent of the bill, Mitsotakis depended on votes from opposition members due to significant dissent within his own center-right party.

“People who have been invisible will finally be made visible around us, and with them, many children will finally find their rightful place,” the prime minister told parliament during a debate ahead of the vote.

“The reform improves the lives of several of our fellow citizens without detracting from the lives of the many.”

LGBTQ groups in Greece have celebrated the vote. Stella Belia, the leader of the Rainbow Families group for same-sex parents, expressed to the media, “This is a historic moment. Today is a day of happiness.”

Within the European Union, 15 out of 27 countries have sanctioned same-sex marriage, and globally, 35 countries have embraced it.

Historically, Greece has been behind several European counterparts, primarily due to resistance from the Church. It is the first country in southeastern Europe to adopt marriage equality.