Greece’s government set to legalise same-sex marriage with the backing of the opposition

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Greece’s government set to legalise same-sex marriage with the backing of the opposition

Groundbreaking Proposal for Marriage Equality in Greece

In a historic move, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis has set his sights on a monumental shift in the country’s social fabric. On January 10th, he revealed his intentions to not only legalize same-sex marriage but also to extend adoption rights to these couples. This marks a significant leap forward for Greece, a nation where traditional family models still hold strong sway.

Mitsotakis’ Vision of Marriage Equality

During an interview with public television channel ERT, Mitsotakis stated, “Our upcoming legislation aims to enshrine marriage equality, effectively eradicating any discrimination based on sexual orientation in the realm of marriage.” He reflected on the essence of marriage, describing it as the culmination of love between two individuals, yet also a legal contract replete with rights and responsibilities.

Anticipated Timeline and Current Legal Status

While Mitsotakis did not specify an exact timeline for presenting this bill to parliament, Greek media speculate it could happen before the European elections in June. Since 2015, Greece has recognized civil unions. However, for same-sex couples with children, only the biological parent currently has legal rights. This means that, upon the biological parent’s demise, the child can be taken away from the surviving partner.

Addressing Legal Rights for Non-Biological Parents

Mitsotakis emphasized the absence of any legal rights for the non-biological parent in such situations. “Same-sex couples have children who are not going to vanish into thin air. Yet, these children lack equal rights,” he lamented, underlining the urgency of his proposal.

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Restrictions on Surrogacy for Same-Sex Couples

One stark difference remains, though: unlike heterosexual couples, same-sex couples will not be permitted to employ surrogate mothers.

Societal Readiness and Anticipated Opposition

Following his resounding re-election victory in June, the leader of the New Democracy party (ND) expressed his belief that Greek society is now “much more prepared and mature” for this change. However, he anticipates resistance from conservative elements within his party and broader society.

Mitsotakis’ Aspiration for Social Unity

Mitsotakis has expressed his desire for this issue to unite rather than divide Greek society, seeking common ground. Several ND senior figures, including former Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, have openly opposed any legislation favoring same-sex marriage.

The Orthodox Church’s Stance and Societal Attitudes

The influential Orthodox Church in Greece also stands against it, with some officials engaging in homophobic rhetoric and condemning the upbringing of children by gay and lesbian couples as treating them like “accessories” or “pets.”

Changing Perceptions in Greek Society

Yet, societal attitudes in Greece are shifting, as evidenced by the recent election of Stefanos Kasselakis, an openly gay man, as the leader of the left-wing Syriza party.

Public Opinion and EU Context

Public opinion in Greece remains divided on this issue. A recent Alco poll for Alpha channel found that 49% oppose same-sex marriage. Conversely, a Pulse survey for Skai channel showed 52% in favor of opening up marriage. Of the 27 European Union countries, fifteen have legalized same-sex marriage, and sixteen allow adoption by same-sex parents.

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