Sunday, 19 May 2024
WorldGreece, first country of Orthodox religion to approve gay marriage

Greece, first country of Orthodox religion to approve gay marriage

The Parliament of Greece approved this Thursday gay marriage and the adoption of minors by same-sex couples, a measure promoted by the conservative Government despite the frontal opposition of the influential Orthodox Church. It thus becomes the 20th country in Europe, the sixteenth within the EU and the first Orthodox Christian to allow it.

Since 2015, Greece has recognized a civil union for same-sex couples, although without the same rights as heterosexual marriage. The prime minister made the approval of equal marriage one of his key promises in the campaign in which he achieved a clear victory in June 2023, and has kept his word, although after the vote, the government party New Democracy (ND) has been divided.

With 176 votes in favor, 76 against and 2 abstentions, the reform was easily approved, thanks to the votes of several opposition parties, since a part of the 158 deputies of the government party, the conservative New Democracy (ND), voted against (20), abstained (31) or left the Chamber before the vote.

During his speech during the parliamentary debate, the Greek Prime Minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, defended that the measure “does justice” to people of the same sex and makes “visible people who were previously invisible.” “This bill aims to unite and not divide,” he said, also making a new appeal to the Orthodox Church, which he has repeatedly asked not to interfere in the affairs of the State, evoking a biblical passage: “Al Caesar what is Caesar’s and God what is God’s.”

Representative Andonis Samarás, of the government’s New Democracy (ND), was the protagonist of one of the most tense moments of the session when he stated that homosexual marriage “does not constitute a human right” nor is it guaranteed by International Law. “Human Rights are too serious an issue to trivialize them in this way. And any abusive interpretation belittles them. A human right is not what one tries to claim,” he assured, adding that “belonging to the West” does not mean “worshiping every trend.” and every fashion that comes our way. In this sense, he has argued that the measure represents a “regression” of the right to the family, since minors have the right to have parents of both sexes, and an “abolition” of the nuclear family model.

The prime minister has been arguing that the reform makes it possible to put an end to numerous legal inconsistencies that affect many families, even though the reform has angered some of his voters. With the new legislation, same-sex couples would have greater peace of mind by freeing themselves from the worry of losing custody of their children in some circumstances.

“This is a milestone for Human Rights that reflects today’s Greece: a progressive and democratic country, passionately committed to European values,” reacted the Greek Prime Minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, on the social network X.

Joy in the LGTBIQ+ group, but with nuances

“Today is a day of joy and we are going to celebrate it properly,” Lío Emanuilidu, who six years ago had a son with his partner after an in vitro fertilization process, told EFE, but only she has rights over the child. since for the Greek State it is of “unknown father”.

Emanuilidu says that she has already made all the preparations and has set March 8 to get married, mainly so that her partner can have custody of the child and be free from the “enormous feeling of insecurity and fear” that if something were to happen to her her son loses “both of his mothers in one day.” This process, however, is expected to be “long and expensive,” as he points out, since the law requires that the non-biological parent adopt the minor so that his or her legal guardianship rights are recognized, in the cases of lesbian couples who already They have children.

LGTBI rights associations have celebrated the “historic” approval of the law, but some of them criticize that surrogacy for homosexual couples has not been authorized.

The reform also leaves same-sex couples in limbo regarding access to assisted reproduction treatments, explains Ekaterini Trimmi, member of the National Committee for Human Rights and lawyer for the organization “Rainbow Families” of Greece, to EFE.

Although the text does not refer to this issue, “it is understood that lesbian couples will be able to access assisted reproduction techniques” to form a family, “in proportional application” of the legislation that exists for heterosexual couples, he tells EFE. Lina Papadopulu, professor of Law at the University of Thessaloniki and one of the drafters of the standard.

Homosexual marriage in the world

Currently, homosexual marriage is a reality in 36 countries in the world (35 states belonging to the United Nations and the autonomous island of Taiwan), of which twenty are European: Germany, Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Slovenia, Spain, Estonia , Finland, France, Ireland, Iceland, Luxembourg, Malta, Norway, Netherlands, Portugal, United Kingdom, Sweden and Switzerland.

Another eleven are from the American continent: Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Ecuador, United States, Mexico and Uruguay.

Completing the list are South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Nepal and the island of Taiwan.

The first to authorize gay marriage was the Netherlands, in 2001, and was followed by Belgium, in 2003; Canada and Spain, in 2005; South Africa, in 2006; Norway and Sweden, in 2009; Portugal, Iceland and Argentina, in 2010; and Denmark, in 2012.

In 2013 it was recognized by judicial means in Brazil and approved by laws in Uruguay, New Zealand and France.

The United Kingdom was later added to the list in 2014 (although with the exception then of Northern Ireland, which did not admit these marriages until early 2020); and Luxembourg, Ireland, the United States and Puerto Rico, in 2015.

Then Colombia did it in 2016; Finland, Malta and Germany, in 2017; Australia, which celebrated its first gay weddings in January 2018; Austria, Taiwan and Ecuador in 2019; Costa Rica in 2020; Chile, Switzerland, Cuba and Mexico, in 2022; and in 2023 Slovenia, Andorra, Nepal and Estonia, where it came into force on January 1, 2024.

There are also States that allow civil unions of people of the same sex, with rights equal or similar to those of marriage, but without that name, as is the case of Croatia, Cyprus, Hungary, Italy, the Czech Republic, or, Until now, Greece.

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