Greece legalizes same-sex marriage despite opposition from Orthodox Church

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Greece legalized same-sex marriage after the Parliament passed legislation to do so Thursday, despite pushback from the Orthodox Church.

The country became the first Orthodox Christian country to pass a law legalizing same-sex marriage and equal parental rights for same-sex couples, The Associated Press (AP) reported.

Of the 300 members in Parliament, 176 lawmakers from different parties voted in favor of the bill drafted by Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis. Seventy-six members rejected the bill, while two abstained from voting and 46 were not present at voting, the AP noted.

“The vote has passed: as of tonight, Greece is proud to become the 16th EU country to legislate marriage equality,” Mitsotakis posted on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter. “This is a milestone for human rights, reflecting today’s Greece — a progressive, and democratic country, passionately committed to European values.”

Supporters and protestors of the bill gathered outside Parliament on Thursday as lawmakers debated, the AP reported.

“People who have been invisible will finally be made visible around us. And with them, many children [will] finally find their rightful place,” the prime minister told lawmakers earlier Thursday, the outlet reported.

While the bill provides same-sex couples full parental rights, it does not allow couples full rights through surrogate mothers. Advocates have pushed back on the limitation and the lack of provisions for transgender people.

Same-sex marriage is largely supported by residents. Former Prime Minister Antonis Samaras from New Democracy, a conservative governing group, opposes the bill.

He told Parliament that same-sex marriage is “not a human right” and that it is not an obligation for the country to legalize it.

The Church of Greece is the main voice of opposition against the bill, as it disapproves of same-sex marriage. Church officials have argued that the bill could impact traditional family values, and the surrogacy limitation could one day be extended to same-sex couples.

The Associated Press contributed.

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