ATHENS – With one of his top aides threatening to quit over it and wide opposition in his party, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis’ government is reportedly finalizing a bill to allow same-sex marriage in Greece.
It’s unclear whether it will pass although the Conservatives have a majority 158 seats in the 300-member Parliament and Greek lawmakers typically are told to vote the party line or be expelled.
In this case the issue is so contentious that State Minister Makis Voridis, one of a handful of ultra-Conservatives in the government, said he would quit if directed to vote for the measure he finds objectionable.
Earlier reports indicated that only a few New Democracy Members of Parliament were in support of the measure that Mitsotakis promised in July would be brought forth, without saying whether he would order them to vote for it.
That would put him in the position of bringing the measure that would likely be doomed to fail, although his government was pressured by LGBTQ+ groups and major opposition SYRIZA leader Stefanos Kasselakis, who is gay and had to go to the United States to marry his partner Tyler McBeth.
The site Balkan Insight said the government is preparing the final touches to a draft bill to legalize same-sex marriage despite opposition from some in the Cabinet and within the party.
The bill will give people of the same or different sex equal marriage rights and also regulate recognition of same-sex marriages that have taken place abroad, the media outlet Ethnos reported.
One issue that has not been clarified is the right of same-sex couples to adopt children. What is being considered is extending adoption rights to men as well as women, it was said, but no indication when the bill would reach Parliament.
Voridis has been the most vocal of the opponents, coming from a far-right background before he joined New Democracy and rose in the ranks to be one of the top advisors to the Prime Minister.
“When you are against (gay) marriage, by and large, you are against adoption,” he said on the private TV channel OPEN TV after earlier saying he would vote against the measure and his own Prime Minister and party leader.
At the Thessaloniki International Trade Fair-Exhibition in September, Mitsotakis, who has supported gay rights, said that same-sex marriage was in his government’s plans for his second term that began in June.
“The time we will choose to bring this relevant regulation to Parliament for a vote is obviously my own decision, but it is valid in its entirety as I have said pre-election and post-election. It is an issue that this government will have resolved within four years,” Mitsotakis said.
In 2015, the leftist SYRIZA-ANEL government brought in civil partnership for same-sex couples that saw 29 New Democracy lawmakers vote against it, 19 in support and 27 abstaining and refusing to take a position.
The bill extended civil partnership rights to same-sex couples, expanding their range of rights concerning the family, inheritance and insurance, the lack of which saw Greece criticized in 2013 by the European Court of Human Rights.