Celebration as Greece Legalises Same-Sex Marriage


Greece has become the 21st European and first Christian Orthodox nation to legalise same-sex marriage, as well as allowing same-sex couples to adopt.

Despite opposition from the powerful Greek Orthodox Church, the country’s Parliament voted on Thursday to support a marriage equality bill, with 176 out of the 254 lawmakers who voted backing the law.

“This is a milestone for human rights, reflecting today’s Greece – a progressive, and democratic country, passionately committed to European values,” Greece’s Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said in a post on social media following the vote.

The law was passed after an intense debate in Parliament and public attacks on the LGBTIQ+ community from conservatives and religious bigots who claimed that same-sex marriage will threaten traditional families – an argument shown to be baseless time and again.

While full parental and adoption rights have also been extended to same-sex couples, surrogacy remains illegal as a means for male couples to father a child.

The same-sex marriage law was publicly backed by Stefanos Kasselakis, the openly gay head of Syriza, the country’s main opposition party. Kasselakis married his longtime American partner, Tyler McBeth in New York City in October.

A hard-won victory against homophobia and transphobia

Amnesty International Greece’s Campaigns Coordinator, Despina Paraskeva-Veloudogianni, welcomed the passage of the marriage equality bill, describing it as a historic development in the fight against homophobia and transphobia in Greece and a hard-won victory for those who have led that fight.

“It gives same-sex couples and their children the visibility and rights that they have long been denied,” she said.

Amnesty noted, however, that the law failed to address several areas to ensure the LGBTIQ+ community in Greece has access to full equal rights.

“It fails to facilitate access to assisted reproductive technology for same-sex couples, single men, transgender, and intersex persons. It also fails to amend a provision that prevents changing the name and gender of a transgender person on their children’s birth certificate,” said Paraskeva-Veloudogianni.

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