Greece's Government to Legalize Same-Sex Marriage Amid Orthodox Church Opposition

same sex couples

Greece's center-right government announced on Thursday that it intends to fulfill its commitment to legalize same-sex marriage, despite facing staunch opposition from the country's influential Orthodox Church.

The government's spokesman, Pavlos Marinakis, stated that the legislation would be brought to parliament within the current term, which is set to end in 2027.

The government's announcement follows a 1,500-word opinion issued by the Church's governing Holy Synod late on Wednesday, expressing strong opposition to legalizing same-sex marriage. The primary argument put forth by the Church revolves around concerns about children being raised in same-sex households, with the Church claiming that they are viewed as "accessories" and "companion pets" for gay couples.

Marinakis, in response to the Church's opposition, acknowledged the importance of respecting the Church's opinions but also emphasized that the government is implementing its policy and is open to hearing the viewpoints of society, civil society, citizens, institutions, and political parties.

The Church's argument is based on the notion that if marriage rights are extended, there will be a subsequent legal obligation to grant parental rights to same-sex couples in accordance with international agreements that Greece has ratified. The Church firmly maintains that children have an intrinsic need and, therefore, a right to be raised by both a male father and a female mother. They reject the concept of treating children as mere accessories to formalize or normalize same-sex cohabitation.

The Church's stance drew significant attention from the Greek news media, sparking a lively debate within the country. Opinion polls indicate that Greeks are evenly divided on the issue of same-sex marriage but generally oppose granting full parental rights to gay couples.

While same-sex marriage is recognized in 34 countries worldwide, according to data from the Human Rights Campaign Foundation, none of these countries are majority Orthodox Christian like Greece. However, several countries have taken steps to legalize civil partnerships in recent years.

Opinions within Greece's governing conservative party are divided, with some members expressing support for the government's commitment to legalizing same-sex marriage and others opposing it. On the other hand, left-wing and center-left opposition parties generally offer their support for same-sex marriage.

An example of this support can be seen in the left-wing opposition leader, Stefanos Kasselakis, who married his male partner in New York in October, shortly after winning a party leadership election.

It is important to note that same-sex civil partnerships have been legally recognized in Greece since 2015.

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