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Greece about to legalising same-sex marriage

Christina and Victoria say legalising same-sex marriage would be a big step for Greece
Christina and Victoria say legalising same-sex marriage would be a big step for Greece
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Same-sex marriage is now permitted in fifteen of the twenty-seven members of the European Union. 35 countries around the world allow it.

Greece has fallen behind its neighbours in Europe, primarily due to resistance from the influential Greek church. This week’s passage of the measure would make it the first nation in the southeast of Europe with a majority of Christians who also has marriage equality.

Legally speaking, same-sex couples are also permitted to adopt children, but they are not permitted to use surrogacy, which is reserved for heterosexual couples in need of assisted reproduction for medical reasons.

“Greece geographically is in the southeast, but culturally and politically it belongs to the West,” says Alex Patelis, the prime minister’s chief economic advisor and a member of the committee that drafted the marriage bill.

Mr Mitsotakis, recently storming to re-election, faces a weak opposition that has left him the space to tread onto their political turf without jeopardising his own position.

Mr Patelis says the bill is a cornerstone of the prime minister’s beliefs: “It’s often thought that human rights and equality are the purview of the parties of the left. This is coming from a centre-right party – and it’s important to recognise that equality under law and individual rights are also the ideology of the right.”

But Greek society is split. A recent poll for Proto Thema newspaper found 55% in favour of same-sex marriage and an even slimmer majority backing adoption.

Up to 50 of Mr Mitsotakis’s 158 MPs are expected either to vote against the bill or to be conveniently absent from the chamber, meaning they can duck the vote.

Greece's powerful Orthodox Church has galvanised protests against same-sex marriage
Greece’s powerful Orthodox Church has galvanised protests against same-sex marriage

A letter by the Church of Greece opposing the move was read out in morning mass across the country earlier this month, condemning what it said would “promote the abolition of fatherhood and motherhood… and put the sexual choices of homosexual adults above the interests of future children”.

One of the most outspoken prelates has been Bishop Seraphim of Piraeus. At the city’s Agii Anargiri Church, we watch as he leads a packed service, with worshippers in their Sunday best kissing icons and bowing heads.

He recently warned that he would block MPs who back the bill from his church, adding it would be preferable if they had not been born.

And, he said, he would refuse to baptise children of same-sex couples “to help them understand that what their guardians are doing is a sin.”

Outside parliament on Syntagma Square, opponents gather to protest against the bill, beneath banners reading “No children for perverts” and chanting “Take your hands off our kids”.

A video shows images including religious icons and, oddly, Bill Gates. Conspiracy theories about a new global order being imposed on Greece have blended with pious Greeks who believe their traditions are being destroyed.

“The Bible says marriage is between a man and a woman – and anything else is a big sin,” says Rallou Perperidou.

“Like Sodom and Gomorrah, God destroyed people practising homosexuality. God will forgive them if they accept what they do is wrong and denounce it.”

Kyriaki Chantzara, 38, is at the protest with her sister, who is expecting her tenth child.

“Homosexual people cannot give the right example for children because we think the existence of a female and male example is crucial to them. It is a human right for every child to have a father and a mother,” she says.

Back in northern Athens, four-year-old Niovi is practising her English with nursery rhymes. Her mums help as she reads “Hickory Dickory Dock, the mouse ran up the clock…”

As time ticks towards the parliamentary vote, the women say their excitement is building. “I’m amazingly happy about it,” says Christina.

“It’s the start of accepting diversity in general as a country and accepting that all people have equal rights. And for us it will mean reality, because I am Niovi’s mother, and this should be supported by the law. The legislation will bring truth to the reality.”

Mzaad
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Dulal Ahmed Chowdhury is the Editor of The Daily Dazzling Dawn. Previously, he has been serving in important positions in all the famous national dailies of the Bangladesh since the nineties. He has played a commendable role in journalism by participating in various events at the national and international levels. United Nations Conference, World Climate Conference, SAARC Summit are notable among them.

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