Gay couple makes history with Greece's first same-sex marriage

Greece has recently passed legislation to recognise same-sex marriage, allowing couples to adopt children and have their family recognised.

Greece has held its first same-sex wedding. The image shows two men's hands. The person on the left is putting a plain gold wedding ring on the finger of the person on the right.
Image: Lisa F. Young via Shutterstock

Just over two weeks since Greece passed a bill recognising same-sex marriage, LGBTQ+ rights activists Stavros Gavriliadis and Dimitris Elefsiniotis have become the first same-sex couple to legally marry.

The civic wedding, which took place in the City Hall of Nea Smyrni, a suburb of Athens, on Saturday, March 3, was solemnised by Konstantinos Anagnostopoulos, the deputy mayor of the town.

Speaking to Skai TV, Anagnostopoulos said that the new law covered a legal gap, and he believed that other same-sex couples would follow suit.

Whilst Greece has legally recognised same-sex unions since 2015,  the new legislation which the Greek parliament passed on February 15, 2024, gives full marital recognition to same-sex couples, making it the first Christian Orthodox country to grant such rights to the LGBTQ+ community.

Speaking to Bloomberg after the new law was passed, Gavriliadis, who had canvassed for the legislative change, said, “We will finally be a family with two surnames.” He added the law “honors freedom, equality, love, our dignity and ensures the rights of our children.”

Gavriliadis and Elefsiniotis, who have been together for 20 years, have three children. Until now, they could not be recognized as both parents of their children. However, for the first time in Greece, the new marriage law permits same-sex couples to be recognised as the parents of their spouse’s children.

Despite welcoming the change, rights activists within the country say the new law does not go far enough as it excludes provision for same-sex couples to have children through surrogacy.

According to the Greek Reporter, the EU is trying to “harmonize legislation” across its member states to tackle inconsistency in surrogacy laws. However, this is proving challenging due to resistance from conservative countries such as Italy and Hungary.

Europe is currently seeing a rise in far-right politics, bringing with it anti-LGBTQ+ sentiment, especially targeting trans people. However, despite this, the new legislation passed in Greece last month means that now 16 of the 27 EU member states recognise same-sex marriage. 

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