ATHENS: 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 set for a vote in parliament in days.
Greece's conservative government is sponsoring the bill but it will require votes from center and left opposition parties to be approved. However, even some center-left lawmakers have gone on record as opposing the bill.
Organizers of Sunday's rally — religious groups — described the bill as a threat to the traditional family. Many of the protesters chanted "hands off our children."
"Unfortunately, the woke agenda has also reached Greece and that agenda includes the marriage of homosexuals," Dimitris Natsios, leader of the far-right and strongly religious Niki party told the Associated Press.
"Greece is a Christian Orthodox country and our tradition does not allow this. ... We know and respect one type of marriage: The Orthodox Christian wedding. Our Constitution also does not provide for this, so this bill is unconstitutional and runs counter to our faith in Christ," Natsios said.
The Niki party, founded in 2019, entered Parliament in 2023. In the most recent election, in June, it came in sixth, with 3.70% of the vote and elected 10 lawmakers to the 300-member assembly.
Many same-sex couples in Greece seeking to start a family currently get married in countries where same-sex weddings are legal.
Greece has legalized "cohabitation contracts" for same-sex couples since December 2015. It also allowed sex identity change by simple declaration without mandating psychiatric evaluation and sex reassignment surgery in October 2017.
If the bill is approved, Greece would become the first majority Orthodox country to legalize same-sex marriage.