ATHENS, Greece — Greece’s center-right government will soon submit legislation allowing same-sex civil marriages, despite reservations from its own lawmakers and the country’s influential Orthodox Church, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said Wednesday.
But he stressed that the proposed law would not extend the right to parenthood through surrogate mothers to same-sex couples — an issue that has divided Greek society.
“What we are going to legislate is equality in marriage,” Mitsotakis said. “We will remove any discrimination concerning sexual orientation in the issue of marital relationship.”
But, he added, “we won’t change the law on assisted parenthood. The idea of women who are turned into child-producing machines on demand ... that is not going to happen.”
Several lawmakers from the right wing of the governing New Democracy party have expressed opposition to any overhaul of Greece’s marriage and parenthood laws to include same-sex couples.
Mitsotakis said in Wednesday’s interview with state-run ERT television that he would not force them to back the proposed legislation, seeking cross-party support to get it approved.
“I believe we will be able to secure the bill’s approval,” he said. “Some people will benefit considerably, in the sense that we will solve a real problem for them ... Some people may disagree (with the law) but they do not stand to lose.”
Allowing same-sex civil marriage was a key campaign promise by Mitsotakis, who secured a second four-year term in a landslide election victory last year.
The issue gained further attention following the summer election of Stefanos Kasselakis as head of the main opposition Syriza party. Kasselakis, who married his male partner in New York in October, caused a stir by expressing the desire to acquire children through a surrogate mother.
Greece legalized same-sex civil partnerships in 2015.
The Orthodox Church of Greece has opposed same-sex civil marriage, arguing that it would create a legal obligation to eventually follow up with parental rights. It rules out religious marriages for same-sex couples.