Greek PM urges parliament to ‘say yes to equality’, ahead of same-sex marriage vote

Maria Syrengela

Greek prime minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis has made a passionate plea to parliament to approve a bill that would legalise same-sex marriage and adoption.

Describing the bill as a “matter of equality”, he said it was not acceptable in a democracy “to have two classes of citizens and certainly not to have children of a lesser god.”

Greece’s parliament is expected to vote through the legislation later today (15 February), which would mark a significant victory for the LGBTQ+ community in the south-eastern European nation.

On Wednesday (14 February), Maria Syrengela, a New Democracy MP, joined Mitsotakis in challenging the Orthodox Church in the socially conservative country. She described the proposed legislation as “a small contribution towards the creation of a society without discrimination”.

Centre-right PM Mitsotakis pledged last year to bring forward the legislation and the landmark bill is backed by four left-wing parties, including the main opposition Syriza, according to The Fresno Bee.

Greece has recognised cohabitation agreements for same-sex couples since 2015, offering some of the rights and benefits of marriage. The new law seeks to extend full parental rights to gay couples. However, they would still be prohibited from seeking medically assisted reproduction through a surrogate, meaning they can only adopt or arrange surrogacy outside their homeland. 

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But the issue has sparked a backlash and Mitsotakis has had to take on the powerful Orthodox Church, which claimed that children are being treated as “accessories” and “companion pets” for gay couples.

The Church also argued that the law will “confuse parental roles” and “weaken the traditional family”.

Despite this, there has been support from across the political divide. 

If the bill passes into law, same-sex couple Elefsiniotis and Gavriilides, who have a four-year-old boy together, will be able to become legal guardians of their child. According to The Times, they said: “We have our suits and wedding bands laid out, ready to storm town hall the minute this legislation clears. 

“It will change everything for us, from picking up [their children] from school to knowing they are legally safeguarded and will not end up in social care if anything happens to either of us.”

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