Greek Prime Minister pledges to legalise same-sex marriage despite Orthodox Church opposition

Despite backlash from the Greek Orthodox Church, the proposal to legalise same-sex marriage obtained backing from the left-wing opposition.

Greek PM Kyriakos Mitsotakis, who pledged to legalise same-sex marriage, speaking in a microphone.
Image: Via X - @isotrua

On January 10, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said his government will soon introduce a bill to legalise same-sex marriage, despite facing pushback from members of his own centre-right party and the state’s powerful Orthodox Church. Despite criticism, Mitsotakis’s proposal obtained backing from the left-wing opposition, which is likely to earn him enough votes to pass the bill in Parliament.

In Greece, same-sex couples have been able to enter civil unions since 2015. The Greek Prime Minister had already announced his intention to make same-sex marriage legal in July 2023, when he committed to drafting the bill that will now be presented to the Parliament.

However, Mitsotakis’s proposal to legalise same-sex marriage has already faced stiff resistance from the Greek Orthodox Church, as well as some more right-wing members of his party. The Metropolitan of Piraeus, Seraphim, who in 2015 said he would excommunicate lawmakers who voted in favour of legalising same-sex unions, opposed Mitsotakis’s proposal saying that homosexuality is “an abuse of the body” and a “great sin”.

Moreover, on Thursday, January 11, several Greek right-wing newspapers wrote articles saying that the proposed law to legalise same-sex marriage could threaten the stability of the government’s parliamentary majority, even going so far as suggesting that it could be Mitsotakis’ “Waterloo”.


As reported in The Guardian, Mitsotakis spoke to state broadcaster ERT, saying: “I, and all those who believe in this legislation, must convince our parliamentarians and subsequently those who may still have a negative stance.

“What we are going to legislate is equality in marriage, which means the elimination of any discrimination based on sexual orientation,” he continued. “It is not something radically different from what applies in other European countries.

“I believe we will be able to secure passage of the bill,” he said. “Some people will benefit greatly in the sense that we will solve a real problem for them. Some people may not agree with same-sex marriage, but I have no intention of losing this fight.

“We will listen to the views of the church,” he added. “I don’t know if we will be able to agree … but it is the state that legislates, it doesn’t co-legislate with the church.”

On January 11, Mitsotakis’s proposal received backing from the leftist opposition party. Gay MP Stefanos Kasselakis, who leads the radical left party Syriza, announced that he would instruct lawmakers from his party to vote for the proposal, despite criticising the fact that the bill will not change the law on assisted reproduction and surrogacy.

However, if passed, the new law would protect existing children of same-sex parents, including adopted children or those born through surrogacy abroad. With the opposition’s backing, the bill could pass in the 300-seat parliament even if some lawmakers in Mitsotakis’s centre-right party oppose it.

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