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Greece to legalize same-sex marriage after opposition agrees to support it

Pictured: Stefanos Kasselakis and his husband
MENELAOS MYRILLAS/SOOC/AFP via Getty Images

Greece is slated to legalize same-sex marriage and adoption, but surrogacy will remain restricted.

Greece's government is slated to legalize same-sex marriage and adoption after the country's left-wing political party withdrew its opposition.

Stefanos Kasselakis, the out gay leader of Syriza, said Thursday that he would instruct the 38 lawmakers in his party to vote in support of the measure, despite saying it does not go far enough to protect LGBTQ+ parental rights, the Associated Press reports.

The measure, put forth and supported by Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, does not allow same-sex couples to have children via surrogacy. The country only allows surrogacy for women who are unable to conceive due to health problems, regardless of marital status. Adoption is allowed in Greece for heterosexual couples, and single men and women. The new legislation will allow same-sex couples to adopt as well as marry.

Kasselakis, who married his partner in New York in October 2023, has voiced the desire to have children through a surrogate. In criticizing the measure, Kasselakis also criticized Mitsotakis for "political cowardice" during an interview with Greek news network Star TV, according to the AP.

Related: Meet the Gay Man Elected to Lead Greece's Leftist Party in Historic First

The progressive condemned the prime minister for refusing to call out the dozen lawmakers in his center-right political party, New Democracy, who objected to the legislation. New Democracy holds the majority in Greece's parliament with 158 members.

Mitsotakis, for his part, has tepidly defended the legislation against backlash from his party's detractors and the country's Orthodox Church, which has remained staunchly opposed to the measure. While the prime minister has been supportive of marriage equality, he recently doubled down on his opposition to surrogacy.

“What we are going to legislate is equality in marriage, which means the elimination of any discrimination based on sexual orientation. It is not something radically different from what applies in other European countries," he said in an interview with Greek public broadcaster ERT, adding, “We won’t change the law on assisted parenthood. The idea of women who are turned into child-producing machines on demand ... that is not going to happen.”

Of the Holy Synod, which previously suggested LGBTQ+ parental rights are a gateway to society's collapse, Mitsotakis added: "it is the state that legislates, it doesn’t co-legislate with the church.”

Same-sex unions were first legalized in Greece in 2015. The full government proposal is expected to be released within the next few days, after which it will take weeks to get approval from parliament.

Pictured: Stefanos Kasselakis and his husband

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Ryan Adamczeski

Ryan is a staff writer at the Advocate, and a graduate of New York University Tisch's Department of Dramatic Writing, with a focus in television writing and comedy. She first became a published author at the age of 15 with her YA novel 'Someone Else's Stars', and is now a member of GALECA, the LGBTQ+ society of entertainment critics. In her free time, Ryan likes watching New York Rangers hockey, listening to the Beach Boys, and practicing witchcraft.
Ryan is a staff writer at the Advocate, and a graduate of New York University Tisch's Department of Dramatic Writing, with a focus in television writing and comedy. She first became a published author at the age of 15 with her YA novel 'Someone Else's Stars', and is now a member of GALECA, the LGBTQ+ society of entertainment critics. In her free time, Ryan likes watching New York Rangers hockey, listening to the Beach Boys, and practicing witchcraft.