Greece Becomes First Orthodox-Majority Nation to Allow Same-Sex Marriage

The Hellenic Parliament of Greece passed a historic legislation, legalizing same-sex civil marriages in the country. It makes Greece the first constitutionally Christian Orthodox-majority nation to grant equal marital rights to LGBTQ couples.
The bill was approved by 176 lawmakers in the 300-seat parliament and will become law when its published in the official government gazette.

Key Provisions

The new law allows same-sex couples to marry with equal rights as heterosexual couples under Greek family law. Additionally, it permits LGBTQ couples to legally adopt children – another remarkable first for a predominately Orthodox country.

Political Support and Opposition

The bill championed by Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis faced resistance from the influential Greek Orthodox Church and conservatives. . The powerful Orthodox Church, which believes homosexuality is a sin, has strongly opposed same-sex marriage, while many in the LGBTQ community believe the bill does not go far enough. Despite dissent within his own centre-right party, the Prime Minister managed to secure majority through support from progressive opposition MPs who overwhelmingly favored marriage equality.

Societal Divisiveness

The high-voltage debate around same-sex partnerships bitterly divided Greek society. While liberal groups welcomed the move, Orthodox hardliners held rallies asserting religious status-quo and protested fiercely against altering traditional institution of marriage.

Recent Developments in Greece

n 2015, Greece allowed civil partnership among same-sex couples, and in 2017 it gave legal recognition to gender identity. Two years ago it banned conversion therapy for minors aimed at suppressing a person’s sexual orientation.

Status Among European Nations

The law puts Greece alongside 15 other members of the European Union that have legalized same-sex marriages to uphold civil liberty ideals. Additionally, it makes Greece the first to do so in South-Eastern Europe where same-sex unions remain widely disapproved.

Recognition of same-sex marriages and unions in Europe

As of February 2024, twenty-one European countries legally recognise and perform same-sex marriages: Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.

The European countries which legally recognise some form of civil union are Croatia, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Montenegro, and San Marino.

Poland and Slovakia recognise private contractual cohabitation of two persons, regardless of sexual orientation or relationship type – including non-sexual non-intimate relationships, for limited purposes.

Marriage is defined as a union solely between a man and a woman in the constitutions of Armenia, Belarus, Bulgaria, Croatia, Georgia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Montenegro, Russia, Poland, Serbia, Slovakia and Ukraine. Of these, however, Croatia, Hungary, Latvia and Montenegro allow civil unions for same-sex couples.


Leave a Reply