Greece Takes Landmark Step as First Orthodox Nation to Embrace Legal Same-Sex Marriage

TOPSHOT - Visitors react after the parliamentary vote on same-sex marriage in Athens, on February 15, 2024. The legalization of same-sex marriage in Greece, adopted by MPs on February 15 evening, is "a turning point for human rights", according to conservative Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, who championed the reform.

Greece has made history by becoming the world’s first Christian Orthodox nation to legalize same-sex marriage. The landmark reform was passed by the Athens parliament, sparking a mix of celebration and anger throughout the country.

Thursday saw an exceptional demonstration of unity in parliament, as 176 MPs from various political backgrounds voted in favor of the bill. Seventy-six individuals opposed the reform, with two choosing to abstain from voting and 46 not being present.

Members of the LGBTQ+ community, filled with overwhelming emotion, observed from the galleries above.

“We have long anticipated this moment,” remarked Stella Belia, a well-known advocate for LGBTQ+ rights, regarding the legislation that will enable same-sex couples to participate in civil ceremonies and adopt children.

This is a moment of great significance. Many of us were uncertain if it would ever arrive,” she remarked.

The vote came after two days of intense debate and weeks of public disagreement. Supporters of the reform hailed it as a bold and long overdue step, while opponents, including the influential Orthodox church, criticized it as antisocial and unchristian.

Despite encountering strong opposition from members of his own center-right New Democracy party, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis has been a strong advocate for the bill, arguing that it would address a significant democratic imbalance.

Greek Leader Backs Same-Sex Marriage Legislation, Citing Global Norms and Improved Lives

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis delivers his speech during a discussion at the Greek Parliament regarding a proposed bill about same-sex marriage and adoption for same-sex couples bill, on February 15, 2024 in Athens, Greece.


In a passionate address prior to the vote, the 55-year-old leader, who is affiliated with the liberal faction of his party, stated that the measure would bring Greece in line with 36 countries worldwide that have already enacted legislation on the matter.

He argued that conservatism should not be misunderstood as holding outdated views that are out of touch with modern society.

“The reform that we are legislating today will improve the lives of some of our fellow citizens without impacting the lives of the many,” stated Mitsotakis. He also mentioned that the law would grant full parental rights to same-sex couples.

“We are addressing an important disparity by providing the option for individuals to legally formalize their relationships, similar to how heterosexual couples can.”

However, there was significant opposition from New Democracy MPs who were mindful of their constituents in the socially conservative nation.

During a parliamentary session, the former prime minister Antonis Samaras expressed his opposition to same-sex marriage, stating that it should not be considered a human right and criticizing the introduction of what he deemed a “dangerous” law.

The reform would not have passed without the support of Syriza, the main opposition leftist party led by Stefanos Kasselakis, Greece’s first gay political leader, and other smaller groups.

Several LGBTQ+ advocacy groups have expressed their criticism of the bill, arguing that it falls short of eliminating discrimination. They point out that the law’s restrictions, which only permit single women and straight couples to access assisted reproduction, have caused distress within the community.

Additionally, they highlight the prevalence of hate speech throughout the debate, which has further contributed to the trauma experienced by many.

According to Elena Christidi, a psychologist and co-founder of the Orlando group that supports LGBTQI mental health services, many people are feeling numb instead of celebrating due to the offensive language and problematic nature of the legislation.

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.