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Greece will soon legalize same-sex marriage. The church is rallying against the “satanic” law

Greece will soon legalize same-sex marriage. The church is rallying against the “satanic” law

With the prospect of legal same-sex marriage closer than ever in Greece, far-right groups — including the Greek Orthodox Church and the most conservative members of the right-wing majority party — are in desperation mode.

On Sunday, ultra-orthodox religious groups sponsored a rally at the Greek Parliament protesting Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis’ legislation to legalize same-sex marriage, despite the fact the Church will not be forced to marry gay couples.

In press appearances, hysterical bishops have called homosexuality a mental illness and warned baptizing children of gay couples will turn them gay.

“Ever since psychiatry removed homosexuality from the list of mental disorders, it gave up on related research, and these unfortunate people were left helpless with their only solace the hope of a convenient legislation and the assertion of rights with parades of self-deprecation and shame,” a high-ranking bishop explained in January.

One protester described the bill as “satanical law in favor of gays.”

If passed on Thursday, the bill would make Greece the first Christian Orthodox country to legalize same-sex marriages.

Sunday’s protest featured ultra-orthodox Christian groups and far-right allies waving Greek flags and religious icons, and chanting slogans including “Fatherland, Religion, Family.”

Homosexuality is a sin and “of course the traditional family is in danger,” Panteleimon, an Orthodox Metropolitan and spokesperson of the Holy Synod told The Daily Beast. “A homosexual relationship can neither be a family nor a marriage.”

He added: “The church only recognizes as marriage the relationship between a man and a woman, whose relationship is sanctified through the holy mystery of marriage.”

Right-wing media amplified the Church’s message.

Despite the opposition, Prime Minister Mitsotakis said in a recent interview that his government has the momentum.

“I absolutely respect our fellow citizens who have a different point of view, just as I respect the church’s point of view. We will respect the different opinion, but the state legislates; it does not co-legislate with the church,” he said.

Just days after hedging on a timeline to introduce his marriage legislation in January, the recently reelected PM got a major boost for his campaign pledge with the endorsement of gay opposition leader Stefanos Kasselakis.

The legislation is fiercely opposed by a faction of Mitsotakis’ New Democracy party and other right-leaning lawmakers in the Greek Parliament, but support from Kasselakis’ left-leaning Syriza should ensure passage.

Kasselakis said he is overlooking “imperfections” in the bill and instructed his party to vote for the proposal, which retains a prohibition on surrogacy for gay couples who want to become parents. Draft legislation tabled last month by Syriza would have granted that right to same-sex couples.  

Kasselakis shot to prominence in September after his surprise election to lead the left-leaning opposition party. The 35-year-old former Goldman Sachs banker married his American husband, Tyler McBeth, in the U.S. in October.

Kasselakis said in January that gay marriage in Greece “will be approved thanks to Syriza.”

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