Greece legalized same-sex marriage and equal parental rights for same-sex {couples} on Thursday as lawmakers handed a invoice that has divided Greek society and drawn vehement opposition from the nation’s highly effective Orthodox Church.

Though Greece turned the sixteenth European Union nation to permit same-sex marriage, it’s the first Orthodox Christian nation to move such a legislation. The nation prolonged civil partnerships to same-sex {couples} in 2015, however stopped in need of extending equal parental rights on the time.

Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis had pledged to move the brand new measures after his landslide re-election last year. He informed his cupboard final month that same-sex marriage was a matter of equal rights, famous that related laws was in place in additional than 30 different international locations, and mentioned that there must be no “second-class residents” or “kids of a lesser God.”

Along with recognizing same-sex marriages, the laws clears the best way for adoption and provides the identical rights to each same-sex dad and mom as a toddler’s authorized guardian, whereas thus far such rights have utilized solely to the organic dad or mum. It will additionally have an effect on the day by day lives of same-sex {couples}, Mr. Mitsotakis informed Parliament on Thursday, permitting these with kids “to gather them from college, to have the ability to journey with them, to take them to the physician.”

The legislation doesn’t present same-sex {couples} with entry to assisted replica or the choice of surrogate pregnancies. It additionally doesn’t give transgender folks rights as dad and mom.

The invoice handed with 176 votes for and 76 in opposition to within the 300-seat Parliament on Thursday after greater than 30 hours of fiery debate over two days. Sturdy assist from the center-left and leftist opposition events pushed the measure by means of. (Of the 300 members of the physique, a complete of 254 folks voted. Two of them voted current; the remaining abstained.)

Mr. Mitsotakis hailed the vote in a post on social media, describing the brand new legislation as “a milestone for human rights.”

Human rights advocates have welcomed the prospect of same-sex marriage for Greece. Maria Gavouneli, the president of the Greek Nationwide Fee for Human Rights, an impartial public physique, known as the measure “lengthy overdue.” And Stella Belia, the founding father of Rainbow Households, a corporation that helps same-sex households, known as the laws “a significant victory that we’ve been combating for for years.”

“It makes life a lot, a lot simpler for many individuals, and it protects kids which were dwelling in a state of precariousness,” Ms. Belia mentioned, including that the brand new measures will even finish the follow of taking kids of same-sex {couples} into the state’s care after the dying of a organic dad or mum. With out the brand new authorized safety, she mentioned, “they’d lose not one, however each of their dad and mom.”

One of many first to profit from the brand new legislation could be Lio Emmanouilidou, a 43-year-old trainer, who plans to marry her long-term accomplice in Thessaloniki on March 8, which is Worldwide Ladies’s Day. She mentioned she was excited in regards to the wedding ceremony and welcomed the invoice as “a step in the proper route and an enormous victory for the group.”

She lamented, nonetheless, that even with its approval, her accomplice would nonetheless face a “lengthy and costly” adoption course of — costing about 3,500 euros, or $3,750 — to change into a authorized guardian of Ms. Emmanouilidou’s 6-year-old son, whom the companions have raised collectively as a household. (Beneath the brand new invoice, each members of a married same-sex couple would mechanically be legally acknowledged as dad and mom of kids the pairs give beginning to or undertake.)

Ms. Emmanouilidou additionally mentioned she felt unnerved by the opposition to the measures. However she mentioned that, in her expertise, most Greeks accepted same-sex {couples} and that her college and group handled her household as some other.

“Society is far more prepared for this than we predict,” she mentioned.

But in a rustic that is still considered one of Europe’s most socially conservative, the place the standard household mannequin remains to be predominant and the influential Orthodox Church views homosexuality as an aberration, the measures have met some pointed resistance.

The Holy Synod, the Greek Orthodox Church’s highest authority, argued in a letter to lawmakers this month that the invoice “abolishes fatherhood and motherhood, neutralizes the sexes” and creates an surroundings of confusion for youngsters. Clerics echoed such sentiment in sermons throughout the nation in latest weeks, and a few bishops mentioned they’d refuse to baptize the youngsters of same-sex {couples}.

Church teams additionally joined forces with far-right events to carry rallies in Athens and different cities to oppose the adjustments. Final Sunday, lots of of individuals staged an indication outdoors Parliament, with some holding banners that learn, “There’s just one household, the standard one.”

Opinion polls performed in latest weeks depicted a Greek society break up over the problems: In many of the surveys, half of respondents expressed assist for same-sex marriage, but most respondents additionally mentioned they opposed permitting same-sex {couples} to undertake kids.

The invoice additionally fueled dissent throughout the Greek political spectrum.

Within the governing New Democracy social gathering, dozens of lawmakers, together with a outstanding minister and a former prime minister, argued that the laws weakened the nuclear household and undermined conventional values. The chief of Greece’s Communist Get together, Dimitris Koutsoubas, informed Parliament on Thursday that legalizing same-sex marriage would “abolish the unity of motherhood and fatherhood.”

And the difficulty induced discord inside Syriza, the principle opposition social gathering: Some lawmakers mentioned the invoice didn’t go far sufficient, others had been loath to again a conservative authorities’s invoice on what they thought-about a liberal subject and a few fearful about profitable assist in rural areas.

Syriza even drafted its personal different invoice, however the social gathering’s chief, Stefanos Kasselakis — who’s Greece’s first brazenly homosexual social gathering chief and has expressed a want to undertake kids by means of surrogacy along with his accomplice, whom he married in New York final October — later pressed his fellow lawmakers to again the federal government’s laws.

Supporters mentioned the adjustments had been an important step towards granting full rights to homosexual folks and their kids, and opening up minds in a society the place conventional heteronormative attitudes prevail.

“It’s the perfect we had been going to get from a center-right authorities with that type of inside opposition and your entire Orthodox Church pressuring you,” Ms. Belia mentioned. “I’ve acquired at hand it to Mitsotakis for following by means of.”

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