Athens (Agencies): Greek lawmakers have voted to legalize same-sex weddings, making Greece the first Orthodox Christian country to take this progressive step. Despite fierce opposition from the Orthodox Church of Greece and nearly half of the population, the bill was approved by a majority in the 300-seat Greek parliament.

The decision came after intense debate and reflects a significant shift in societal norms and attitudes. Here are the key points surrounding this momentous event:

  • Parliament Approval: On Thursday, 176 lawmakers voted in favor of the bill, while 76 rejected it, and 46 were absent during the vote. The narrow margin underscores the contentious nature of the issue.
  • Prime Minister’s Praise: Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis hailed the decision, emphasizing that Greece is now the 16th European Union member to legislate “marriage equality.” His support signals a commitment to human rights and inclusivity.
  • Human Rights Milestone: Mitsotakis described the move as a milestone for human rights, reflecting a progressive and democratic Greece passionately committed to European values. By legalizing same-sex marriage, Greece joins a growing list of nations championing equality.
  • Parental Rights: While same-sex civil partnerships were legalized in 2015, couples were not allowed to adopt children. The new bill grants full parental rights to married same-sex partners, with one exception: gay male couples still cannot have children through surrogate mothers. This provision acknowledges progress while recognizing ongoing challenges.
  • Political Landscape: The measure was championed by Mitsotakis’ New Democracy party, with support from left-wing parties. However, some conservatives within the ruling party opposed it, highlighting the diverse perspectives within Greek politics.
  • Opposition and Public Opinion: Former Prime Minister Antonis Samaras argued that same-sex marriage is not a human right and not an international obligation for Greece. An opinion survey conducted by the national pollster Alco in January revealed that 49% of Greeks opposed legalizing same-sex marriage, while only 35% were in favor. The reforms faced staunch resistance from the Orthodox Church of Greece, which wields significant influence in society and politics. Approximately 80% of the country’s 11 million people identify as Greek Orthodox.

This decision marks a significant step forward for LGBTQ+ rights in Greece. It challenges traditional norms, fosters greater inclusivity, and paves the way for a more accepting society.

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