Greece drafting bill to legalise same-sex marriage

Kyriakos Mitsotakis infront of a Greece and European Union flag.

Greece is reportedly expected to publish a bill legalising same-sex marriage according to the country’s prime minister.

In a statement on Wednesday (10 January), Greek prime minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis announced that the government intended to implement further LGBTQ+ rights following a series of reforms over the past decade.

The reforms have been part of a move by the country’s ruling party to distance itself from the traditionally conservative values of the Orthodox Church, which has long opposed same-sex marriage.

Speaking to state broadcaster ERT, Mitsotakis said he plans on “the elimination of any discrimination based on sexual orientation.”

“It is not something revolutionarily different from what applies in other European countries,” he continued.

The centre-right prime minister pledged to draft the bill in July 2023 while speaking to Bloomberg, saying that it “will happen at some point and it’s part of our strategy.”

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Since 2015, same-sex couples in the European country have been able to enter civil unions which, while recognising the relationship legally, does not afford them the rights of married couples.

Mitsotakis added that the proposed law would not extend to allowing same-sex couples to adopt children via surrogacy, saying: “We won’t change the law on assisted parenthood. The idea of women who are turned into child-producing machines on demand… That is not going to happen.”

It would, however, protect existing children of same-sex parents, including adopted children or those born to surrogacy abroad.

The legal clarification would mean that should one of the parents die, the other will be given parental rights.

While support for LGBTQ+ rights in Greece has increased over the past few years, Mitsotakis is still facing opposition from both the influential Orthodox Church and the more right-wing members of his party.

He said during the interview that he would not force members to support the bill but would seek cross-party support to get it approved.

“I believe we will be able to secure the bill’s approval,” he continued. “Some people will benefit considerably, in the sense that we will solve a real problem for them.

“Some people may disagree [with same-sex marriage] but they do not stand to lose.”

Same-sex marriage is a highly contentious issue in Greece according to survey data. A poll published by the Pew Research Center in 2023 found that 49 per cent of Greek voters support same-sex marriage, while 50 per cent oppose it.

Things are improving in the country, however, with the ILGA Rainbow Europe Index putting the country in 13th place out of 49 European countries for its LGBTQ+ rights.