Greece Prepares Legislation for Legalisation of Same-Sex Marriage

Tuesday, February 13, 2024

Greece is in the process of introducing a bill to allow same-sex marriage, as announced by the country's Prime Minister. The Prime Minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, made a statement on Wednesday (10 January), indicating the government's commitment to advancing LGBTQ+ rights, building on reforms over the last decade.

These efforts aim to shift away from the traditional conservative stance of the Orthodox Church, which has been historically against same-sex marriage. Mitsotakis emphasized his intention to eliminate discrimination based on sexual orientation, noting that this move aligns with practices in other European nations.

The Prime Minister had previously mentioned in July 2023, during an interview with Bloomberg, his intention to prepare this bill as part of the government's broader strategy. Since 2015, Greece has allowed same-sex civil unions, but these do not offer the same legal rights as marriage. The new law, however, will not permit same-sex couples to adopt children through surrogacy, with Mitsotakis expressing opposition to changing laws on assisted parenthood to prevent exploitation of women.

Nevertheless, the legislation will safeguard the rights of children within same-sex families, including those adopted or born via surrogacy abroad, ensuring parental rights for the surviving partner in case of a parent's death. Despite growing support for LGBTQ+ rights in Greece, there is resistance from the Orthodox Church and conservative elements within Mitsotakis's party. The Prime Minister seeks to pass the bill with broad support, without compelling party members, and believes it will address significant issues for many, without disadvantaging others.

Public opinion on same-sex marriage in Greece remains divided, with a 2023 Pew Research Center poll showing nearly equal support and opposition among Greek voters. However, progress is evident, as indicated by Greece's ranking on the ILGA Rainbow Europe Index, where it stands 13th out of 49 European countries for LGBTQ+ rights.