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Greece has achieved a historic milestone by becoming the first Christian Orthodox-majority nation to legalize same-sex marriage and adoption by same-sex families.

Following a parliamentary vote of 176-76 on Thursday, same-sex couples now have the legal right to marry and adopt children. Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis emphasized the law’s role in eliminating a significant inequality, although its passage has sparked division within the country, notably from the influential Orthodox Church.

Mr. Mitsotakis advocated for the bill but needed the backing of opposition parties to secure its passage, facing opposition from numerous members of his center-right governing party.

“People who have been invisible will finally be made visible around us, and with them, many children will finally find their rightful place,” the prime minister said as he addressed the parliament during a debate leading up to the vote.

“The reform makes the lives of several of our fellow citizens better, without taking away anything from the lives of the many.”

Despite protests and opposition, the bill secured passage with the majority in the 300-member parliament following two days of debates, highlighting both support and resistance to the progressive legislation.

“This is a milestone for human rights, reflecting today’s Greece – a progressive, and democratic country, passionately committed to European values,” Mitsotakis said on Twitter/X.

LGBTQ organizations in Greece have celebrated the parliamentary vote, hailing it as a historic moment. Stella Belia, the leader of Rainbow Families, a group representing same-sex parents, expressed joy at the milestone. “This is a historic moment,” said Belia in an interview with Reuters. “This is a day of joy.”

With this decision, Greece joins the ranks of fifteen European Union members and 35 other countries globally that have already legalized same-sex marriage. The country’s move toward marriage equality marks a significant step, particularly as it becomes the first in southeastern Europe to embrace this progressive stance, overcoming past challenges, including opposition from the Church.

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