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Good Gay News: Greece Legalizes Same-Sex Marriage

Good Gay News: Greece Legalizes Same-Sex Marriage

Instead of focusing on bills being passed or presented in our state legislature this week, I have decided to report on some good news, which is Greece becoming the first Orthodox Christian country to legalize same-sex marriage. Same-sex union was previously legal, but to much of the church’s dismay, the country has officially legalized same-sex marriage as of February 15, 2024. Along with legalizing same-sex marriage, they extended their parental rights to same-sex couples as well. This ruling has divided the country and has upset the Orthodox Church. Greece is the 21st European Union country to legalize same-sex marriage and they have joined Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Luxemburg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. 176 lawmakers voted in favor of same-sex marriage, seventy-six opposed it, two abstained, and forty-six were not present in the house during the voting.

The prime minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis promised to pass the legislation during his landslide re-election in the year prior. According to Niki Kitsantonis, a writer who reported on the ruling for The New York Times, “He told his cabinet last month that same-sex marriage was a matter of equal rights, noted that similar legislation was in place in more than thirty other countries, and said that there should be no ‘second-class citizens’ or ‘children of a lesser God.’” In addition to legalizing marriage for same-sex couples, it also allows same-sex couples to adopt children and it gives the same rights to same-sex couples as biological parents when it comes to guardianships of children. While the law is great for same-sex couples who want to marry and adopt, it does not give access to assisted reproduction and surrogates. It also doesn’t give transgender parents the same and equal rights as biological and same-sex couples. Human rights activists have welcomed Greece with positivity for finally giving same-sex couples the same rights as heterosexual couples, and Mitsotakis called it, “a milestone for human rights.”

People are already benefitting from the ruling and one woman in particular, Lio Emmanouilidou, a 43-year-old teacher, plans to marry her long-term partner on March 8th, which is International Women’s Day. Even with the new bill, her partner will struggle with the fees to adopt their six-year-old son, so she is recognized as the legal guardian of him. The process could be between 3,500-3,750 euros to become the legal guardian. She has never faced opposition from people who don’t agree with same-sex marriage, and said, “In her experience, most Greeks accepted same-sex couples and that her school and community treated her family as any other.”

While she hasn’t been met with opposition, the lawmakers have, and they’ve received many letters from the church and other members condemning the new law. The Holy Synod, the highest authority of the Greek Church issued a statement about the policy change stating it, “Abolishes fatherhood and motherhood, neutralizes the sexes and creates an environment of confusion for children.” Clerics also echoed this opposition, and many sermons were given about the ruling following the bill being made law. Some bishops have even stated they refuse to baptize children of same-sex couples. Many far-right groups had started rallies in Athens against the bill being put in place. It has divided the country for sure, and while I could go more into depth about the issue, I want to keep this as happy as I can. It’s shocking that a country so rich in culture and history of same-sex people would be opposed to it, but you can mainly blame the religion that took over. I am happy the government didn’t let the church stop them from doing this, and now same-sex couples have the same rights as other people in the country.

This is the ending of this rather happy article. Please remember you are loved, cherished, and appreciated by many people. Ignore the negative things people say about you and the community; know things will improve. To the transgender students on the campus or reading this, remember you are loved and that you have people fighting for your rights.

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About the Contributor
Sky Cale
Sky Cale, Staff Reporter
Sky Cale is a senior studying creative writing and minoring in Political Science. She has plans to go get an online master's degree in creative writing. She has aspirations to become an author in the future. She is an advocate for the LGBTQ+ community in and outside of Appalachia. She works in the Turley Center helping students navigate their way through the third floor. Outside of classes, you can find her walking her ESA Mars around the campus, playing the Sims, or writing her books. 
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