Greece drafts bill to legalise same-sex marriage -PM says

ATHENS – Greece will publish a bill shortly that will legalise same-sex marriage in a bid to eliminate discrimination based on sexual orientation, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said on Wednesday.

Greece has implemented a series of reforms over the past decade to improve LGBT+ rights in the country where the Orthodox Church has long opposed equal rights for same-sex couples.

Mitsotakis, who is trying to break away from the traditional image of a conservative leader, has drafted a national strategy on LGBT+ rights that may win support from the left but create opposition in more conservative quarters.

“What we will legislate is marriage equality, which means the elimination of any discrimination based on sexual orientation,” Mitsotakis said in an interview with state broadcaster ERT.

“It is not something revolutionary different from what applies in other European countries.”

The LGBT+ community has said the reforms Greece has previously introduced have not gone far enough.

In 2015, Greece recognised cohabitation agreements for same-sex couples providing them with some rights and benefits, but they are still not allowed to have or adopt children as a couple.

The Orthodox Church opposes marriage among LGBT+ people. About 80-90% of the country’s 11 million population identify as Greek Orthodox.

“We are talking about a civil marriage, not a religious one,” Mitsotakis said without giving more details on when the bill will be submitted to parliament for a vote.

The reform could prove a challenge for Mitsotakis who also faces opposition to the legislation within his party and cabinet. The bill will allow child adoption but not surrogate parenthood.

“We will not experiment with more advanced ideas,” Mitsotakis added.

A Greek survey by Alco pollsters in January showed that 35% agreed and 49% opposed it, while 16% declined to respond. Most of the dissenters oppose adoption of children or surrogate parenthood by same-gender couples.

Mitsotakis said that there will be enough time for public consultation to persuade citizens and MPs of his party. REUTERS

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