‘Yes to equality’ says Greek PM ahead of same-sex marriage vote

By Thomson Reuters Feb 15, 2024 | 6:19 AM

By Renee Maltezou

ATHENS (Reuters) – Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis urged parliament on Thursday to “say yes to equality” and approve a bill allowing same sex marriage, which if passed would be a landmark victory for the LGBT+ community in the socially conservative country.

Parliament is expected to vote through the bill later on Thursday, which would give same-sex couples the right to wed and adopt and would make Greece one of the first Orthodox Christian countries to allow such unions.

“For every democratic citizen, today is a day of joy. From tomorrow a barrier will be removed,” Mitsotakis said in a speech to lawmakers.

Although some members of Mitsotakis’ centre-right New Democracy party are expected to abstain or vote against the bill, he is expected to gain enough support from leftist opposition parties.

Polls ahead of the vote show Greeks are split on the issue. The powerful Orthodox Church, which believes homosexuality is a sin, has strongly opposed it, while many in the LGBT+ community believe it does not go far enough.

The bill does not overturn obstacles for LGBT+ couples in using assisted reproduction methods. Surrogate pregnancies will also not be extended to LGBT+ individuals, though the bill recognises children already born through that method abroad.

Elliniki Lysi, one of the three far-right parties represented in parliament, said the bill is “anti-Christian” and hurts national interests.

LGBT+ groups have been pushing for reform for decades. In 2008, a lesbian and a gay couple defied the law and tied the knot on a tiny Greek island, but the weddings were later annulled by a top court.

Since then, Greece has passed LGBT+ reforms, allowing civil partnership among same-sex couples in 2015 and the legal recognition of gender identity in 2017. Two years ago it banned conversion therapy for minors aimed at suppressing a person’s sexual orientation.

(Reporting by Renee Maltezou; Editing by Edward McAllister and Alex Richardson)