Greece Legalizes Same-Sex Marriage and Parental Rights

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Greece is the 16th European Union country and the first Orthodox Christian country to legalize same-sex marriages and parental rights. 

The country legalized same-sex unions in 2015, but parental rights were not extended. Until now, the non-biological parent could not pick up their partner’s biological children from school or take them to the doctor. If the biological parent died, the children were taken into state care rather than being allowed to stay with the non-biological parent.

With the new law, same-sex couples will still not have access to surrogacy or fertility treatments. And transgender people still have no rights as parents.

Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, who campaigned on the issue, celebrates the law’s passage: “This is a milestone for human rights, reflecting today’s Greece — a progressive, and democratic country, passionately committed to European values.” He told lawmakers before the vote: “People who have been invisible will finally be made visible around us. And with them, many children finally find their rightful place.”

Former Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, who opposes the law, says, “Same-sex marriage is not a human right … and it’s not an international obligation for our country. Children have a right to have parents from both sexes.”

The Holy Synod of the Greek Orthodox Church vehemently opposes the law, saying it “abolishes fatherhood and motherhood, neutralizes the sexes.”

Most Greek citizens, however, seem more concerned about the cost of living to make same-sex marriage a devisive issue.

1. Should same-sex marriage be legal? Why or why not?

2. Should same-sex partners have legal parental rights? Why or why not?

3. Should parental rights be extended to transgender parents? Why or why not?

Associated Press, “Greece Legalizes Same-Sex Marriage despite Church Opposition,”, Feb. 15, 2024

Niki Kitsantonis, “Greece Becomes First Orthodox Country to Legalize Same-Sex Marriage,”, Feb. 15, 2024