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Greek government pushes for same-sex marriage legalization amid opposition from the Orthodox Church

The Greek government is accelerating its schedule to legalize same-sex marriage, despite mounting resistance from the influential Orthodox Church. Government officials announced Wednesday that the draft bill would be put to a vote by mid-February. If passed, Greece will be the first Orthodox-majority country to sanction same-sex marriage. The Ecumenical Patriarchate in Istanbul, which leads Orthodox churches worldwide, voiced its disapproval of the proposal, asserting that marriage should only be between a man and a woman.

Senior bishops of the church in Greece took a similar stance in a decision made public on Tuesday. Metropolitan Bishop Panteleimon, a spokesperson for the Greek Church’s governing Holy Synod, announced that their written objections would be disseminated to all members of Greece’s parliament and recited at Sunday services across the nation. The church has yet to comment on how it would approach the issue of children of same-sex parents.

Conservative Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, who secured a resounding reelection victory last summer, is likely to depend on votes from the opposition party for the legalization of same-sex marriage due to divisions within his own New Democracy party and his Cabinet members. Opinion polls indicate a narrow disapproval of same-sex marriage among Greeks.