Greece makes history as first Orthodox Christian country to legalise same-sex marriage

Same-sex couples in Greece can now marry and adopt children, with both parents recognised as legal guardians.

Pride Parade in Greece, where same-sex marriage was recently legalised, with protesters carrying rainbow banners and flags.
Image: Via Shutterstock - Alexandros Michailidis

With a cross-party majority vote on February 15, Greece has become the first Orthodox Christian country to legalise same-sex marriage, in spite of opposition from church officials. Greece is now the 37th country in the world where same-sex marriage is legal.

176 lawmakers in the 300-seat Parliament voted in favour of the marriage equality bill yesterday evening, with 76 rejecting it and two abstaining from the vote. The bill, which had been drafted by Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis’ centre-right government, also allows same-sex couples to adopt children, recognising both parents as legal guardians.

The new law falls short of allowing male same-sex couples to have children through surrogacy, an option that is currently available to women who cannot have children for health reasons. However, the law does recognise children born abroad through the practice.

As reported by AP, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis spoke to lawmakers ahead of the vote, telling them that should the bill pass, “people who have been invisible will finally be made visible around us”.

“And with them, many children (will) finally find their rightful place,” Mitsotakis said. “Both parents of same-sex couples do not yet have the same legal opportunities to provide their children with what they need.”

He added, “To be able to pick them up from school, to be able to travel, to go to the doctor, or take them to the hospital … That is what we are fixing.”


The landmark law was backed by four left-wing parties in the opposition, while three smaller far-right parties and the Communist Party rejected the bill. The legislation on same-sex marriage also faced strong opposition from the Orthodox Church in Greece, which has significant influence in the country’s politics.

Last December, the Church’s governing body sent a circular to all dioceses strongly condemning the proposed legislation. “Children are not pets or accessories,” the document read. “No social modernisation and no political correctness can trick the natural need of children for a father and a mother.”


Peaceful gatherings were held outside the Parliament during the vote, with both supporters and opponents present. While the latter brought religious icons and prayed as the vote took place, LGBTQ+ activists gathered with rainbow banners to celebrate the victory.

“This is a historic moment,” Stella Belia, head of LGBTQ+ group Rainbow Families, told Reuters. “This is a day of joy.”

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