What’s happening in Greece with its bid to legalise same-sex marriage? 

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis At The European Council

Gay couples in Greece have high hopes of seeing equal marriage legalised this year after prime minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis pledged to bring forward new legislation. 

But Mitsotakis’ promise, made last year, has sparked backlash and an ongoing row over whether Greece will fully allow same-sex marriage.

Greece has recognised cohabitation agreements for same-sex couples since 2015, offering some of the rights and benefits of marriage. Mitsotakis’ new legislation would extend full parental rights to gay couples, but still prohibit them seeking medically assisted reproduction through a surrogate, meaning they can only adopt or arrange surrogacy outside the country. 

The Orthodox Church was quick to voice its opposition to the idea, with its governing Holy Synod writing a 1,500-word opinion against the law in December.  

The church claimed that children are being are being treated as “accessories” and “companion pets” for gay couples. However, the legislation still looks set to go ahead.

Most Greeks favour legalising same-sex marriage

On 27 December 2023, while addressing misconceptions about the bill, government spokesman Pavlos Marinakis said the legislation would be brought before parliament during the house’s current term, which ends in 2027. 

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And in a statement on 10 January, Mitsotakis announced that the government intends to implement more LGBTQ+ rights legislation, following a series of reforms over the past decade.

“I believe we will be able to secure the bill’s approval,” the Greek prime minister said. “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,” he added in reference to his plan of not forcing members to support the bill, but instead seeking cross-party support to get it approved.

Mitsotakis confirmed on Friday (19 January) that Greece’s parliament will vote in February on legalising same-sex marriage and adoption.

He told Bloomberg TV in Davos, Switzerland: “I’m very optimistic that it will become Greek law within the first two weeks of the month of February.”

A public opinion poll published this month found that nearly 55 per cent of Greeks are in favour of the same-sex marriage legislation, while 53 per cent believe gay couples should have the right to adopt. 

Most respondents were still opposed to the idea of same-sex surrogacy, however, with 65.6 per cent of people opposing the idea and only 29.6 per cent in favour. 

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