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Greek Orthodox Church expels pro-marriage lawmakers, but that isn’t stopping LGBTQ+ couples from celebrating

Greek Orthodox Church priests deacons Holy Metropolis rainbow lgbtq pride flag parade Petros Hadjopoulos pen name Auguste Corteau Anastasios Samouilidis first same sex couple married Athens
Courtesy Holy Metropolis of Corfu, Paxos & Diapontia Islands; Shutterstock; Menelaos Myrillas/SOOC via AFP

No communion for you, say angry church leaders.

The local Greek Orthodox Church on the island of Corfu announced it will deny communion and other religious ceremonies to two local lawmakers who voted in favor of the country’s new law enshrining marriage equality.

Church leaders in the Holy Metropolis of Corfu issued a statement on Tuesday, condemning the new law passed by the country’s Parliament and signed into law by Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis last month The law legalized marriage equality and granted parental rights to same-sex couples, while at the same time denying them surrogacy rights.

Widely praised by the international community, the law has generated strong opposition from the Greek Orthodox Church and cultural conservatives.

The church on Corfu described passage of the law as a “political decision” resulting from the “mentality of the work movement” within Greek politics.

Church leaders on Corfu directed specific criticism at two local parliamentarians who voted in favor of the bill. They said the pair erred spiritually, blaming either “party discipline” or a refusal to accept that true Greek Orthodox Christians must be obedient to its teachings about marriage equality and same-sex sexual relations.

Despite such opposition, gay and lesbian couples were celebrating both their wedding vows and the larger significance of the nuptials.

Petros Hadjopoulos pen name Auguste Corteau Anastasios Samouilidis first same sex couple married AthensMenelaos Myrillas/SOOC via AFP

Greek novelist Petros Hadjopoulos and lawyer Anastasios Samouilidis were the first same-sex couple to marry in Athens city hall on Thursday. Better known to fans by his pen name Auguste Corteau, Hadjopoulos said the ceremony was not just an expression of love between two men but as a beacon of hope for others.

“There is a symbolism to this,” Hadjopoulos told the Associated Press. “I understand that (marriage) doesn’t work for everyone, but for people who grew up in Greece in the 1980s and 90s, when guys like us lived a very lonely existence, even symbols have a great value.”

Also married in Athens were lesbians Danai Deligeorges and Alexia Beziki. Like Hadjopoulos, Deligeorges recalled a time when marriage equality seemed like an impossibility in Greece and that their efforts to gain recognition for their rights would go in vain.

“Now we’re able to confirm with a statement that: You know what? You weren’t doing all these things for nothing,” Deligeorges told Reuters before the ceremony. “So, love wins.”

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