Greece, Orthodox Christian country, considering legalizing same-sex marriage – Everything Law and Order Blog

Greece’s parliament is to vote late Thursday to legalize same-sex civil marriage in a first for an Orthodox Christian country and despite opposition from the influential Greek Church.As lawmakers debated the bill for a second day, opinion polls suggest that most Greeks support the proposed reform by a narrow margin. The issue has failed to trigger deep divisions in a country more worried about the high cost of living.The landmark bill drafted by Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis ′ center-right government is backed by four left-wing parties, including the main opposition Syriza.GREECE TEMPORARILY BANS FANS FROM TOP-FLIGHT SOCCER MATCHESThat would secure it a comfortable majority in the 300-seat parliament. Several majority and left-wing lawmakers are expected to abstain or vote against the reform — but not enough to kill the bill. Three small far-right parties and the Stalinist-rooted Communist Party have rejected the draft law.Supporters, waving rainbow banners, and opponents of the bill, holding religious icons and praying, held separate small, peaceful gatherings outside parliament Thursday.”People who have been invisible will finally be made visible around us. And with them, many children (will) finally find their rightful place,” Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis told lawmakers ahead of the evening vote.”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.” Supporters of same-sex marriage bill take part in a rally, at central Syntagma Square, in Athens, Greece, Thursday, Feb. 15, 2024. (AP Photo/Michael Varaklas)The bill would confer full parental rights on married same-sex partners with children. But it precludes gay couples from parenthood through surrogate mothers in Greece — an option currently available to women who can’t have children for health reasons.Maria Syrengela, a lawmaker from the governing New Democracy, or ND, said the reform would redress a long-standing injustice for same-sex couples and their children.”And let’s reflect on what these people have been through, spending so many years in the shadows, entangled in bureaucratic procedures,” she said.Dissidents among the governing party included former Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, from ND’s conservative wing, who said Thursday he would vote against the bill.GREEKS GATHER BY THE THOUSANDS IN PROTEST OF SAME-SEX MARRIAGE BILL”Same-sex marriage is not a human right … and it’s not an international obligation for our country,” he told parliament. “Children have a right to have parents from both sexes.”Polls show that while most Greeks agree to same-sex weddings they also reject extending parenthood through surrogacy to male couples. Same-sex civil partnerships have been allowed in Greece since 2015. But that only conferred legal guardianship to the biological parents of children in those relationships, leaving their partners in a bureaucratic limbo.The main opposition to the new bill has come from the traditionalist Church of Greece — which also disapproves of heterosexual civil marriage. A protester takes part in a rally against same-sex marriage, at central Syntagma Square, in Athens, Greece, Thursday, Feb. 15, 2024. (AP Photo/Michael Varaklas)Church officials have centered their criticism on the bill’s implications for traditional family values, and argue that potential legal challenges could lead to a future extension of surrogacy rights to gay couples.The head of the Orthodox Church of Greece, Archbishop Ieronymos, suggested Wednesday that the ballot should be held by roll call. This would enable constituents to see exactly how their lawmakers voted.That’s going to happen anyway, following motions later in the day by far-right parties and — independently and for different reasons — Syriza. The main opposition leader, Stefanos Kasselakis, who is gay, has threatened disciplinary action against any Syriza lawmaker who doesn’t back the bill.Church supporters and conservative organizations have staged small protests against the proposed law.Far-right lawmaker Vassilis Stigas, head of the small Spartans party, described the bill Thursday as “sick” and claimed that its adoption would “open the gates of Hell and perversion.”Politically, the same-sex marriage law is not expected to harm Mitsotakis’ government, which won easy re-election last year after capturing much of the centrist vote.A stronger challenge comes from ongoing protests by farmers angry at high production costs, and intense opposition from many students to the planned scrapping of a state monopoly on university education.CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APPNevertheless, parliament is expected to approve the university bill later this month, and opinion polls indicate that most Greeks support it.

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