ATHENS, Greece — More than 1,500 protesters gathered in central Athens on Sunday to oppose legislation that would legalize same-sex marriage in Greece. The bill is expected to be voted on in Parliament within a few days.
Greece’s conservative government supports the bill, but it will require votes from the center and left opposition parties to be approved. However, even some center-left lawmakers have come on record as opposing the bill.
Organizers of Sunday’s rally – religious groups – described the bill as a threat to the traditional family. Many demonstrators chanted “Don’t touch our children.”
“Unfortunately, the woke agenda has also reached Greece and this agenda includes gay marriage,” said Dimitris Natsios, leader of the far-right and strongly religious Niki party.
“Greece is an Orthodox Christian country and our tradition does not allow this. … We know and respect one type of marriage: Orthodox Christian marriage. Our Constitution does not provide for it either, so this bill is unconstitutional and goes against our faith in Christ,” Natsios said.
The Niki party, founded in 2019, entered Parliament in 2023. In the last elections, in June, it came sixth, with 3.70% of the vote and elected 10 legislators out of the 300-member assembly.
In Greece, many same-sex couples seeking to start a family are currently marrying in countries where same-sex marriages are legal.
Greece has legalized “cohabitation contracts” for same-sex couples since December 2015. It also allowed change of sexual identity by simple declaration without requiring a psychiatric evaluation or sex reassignment surgery in October 2017.
If the bill is approved, Greece will become the first majority-Orthodox country to legalize same-sex marriage.