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Greece poised to legalize same-sex marriage despite Orthodox outcry

Greece is poised to legalize same-sex marriage nationwide, despite an urgent warning from the Greek Orthodox Church.

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, an ostensibly centre-right politician, is relying on a coalition of left-wing MPs to force the bill through next week without support from the main faction of his New Democracy party. There is.

The proposal is fiercely opposed by the Greek Orthodox Church, Greece’s “popular religion,” which accounts for about 90% of the population.

Last month, the Greek Church’s Clergy Council ruled in a unanimous decision that same-sex marriages and adoptions by same-sex couples are unacceptable.

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Greek Prime Minister Mitsotakis attended the Orthodox Feast Mass held at the Fener Greek Patriarchate in Istanbul, Turkey. (Erok/Dia image available via Getty Images)

“Obviously the state makes the law, but this provision does not take away the church’s freedom of speech or relieve the church of its obligation to inform the faithful, or to show the church what sin is.” cannot,” the Holy Synod report states. To read. “The Church does not legislate and is not responsible to the law. But if the Church remains silent, she assumes a grave responsibility and abolishes herself.”

Metropolitan Seraphim of Piraeus went so far as to declare that “no one who votes for this can remain a member of the Church.”

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Kyriakos Mitsotakis talks with the media in Brussels

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis speaks to reporters at the end of the EU summit in Brussels, Belgium. (Pier Marco Tacca/Getty Images)

Mitsotakis characterized the bill as a matter of equality, saying it was to avoid “having two classes of people and certainly not having children of lesser gods.”

In his address to ministers last month, the Prime Minister made no apologies for ignoring theology in his goals.

“I appreciate and fully respect the church’s perspective. Indeed, this government has been addressing long-standing practical issues regarding clergy,” Mitsotakis said. “But let me be clear on this matter: we are discussing the decisions of the Greek state, independent of theological beliefs.”

Greek Orthodox worshipers in Athens before Easter

Greek Orthodox worshipers prepare for Apokaterosis, an important part of the Orthodox Easter festival, at the Church of the Nativity of Our Lady in Penteli, north of Athens. (Angelos Tsolzinis/AFP via Getty Images)

The controversy sparked by the bill highlights the growing gulf between Greece’s secular leadership and the spiritual identity of the Greek people.

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“Historically, we have differed from the Church on civil marriage, cremation, and the omission of religion from Greek identity cards,” Mitsotakis said. “Experience has shown that these changes were necessary. They were not harmful to society or to the cooperation of the Church with the state. I am convinced that the same is true now. ”

The Prime Minister and his coalition government are expected to vote on the proposal on February 15.

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