Greece’s parliament passed a law giving same sex couples the opportunity to be recognized under the state as a “civil union,” offering them many of the same rights that heterosexual couples are offered.
Before the vote was passed, Greece was one of only two countries in the European Union that didn’t extend rights to same sex couples.
A total of 194 lawmakers voted for the bill and 55 voted against. Just 29 of 75 New Democracy deputies casted their ballot in favor of the legislation.
The biggest opposition to the bill came from the Greek Orthodox Church, which lobbied actively against its passage. Many Metropolitans from throughout Greece used their pulpits to speak harshly against its passage.
Metropolitan Ambrosios of Kalavryta called for physical abuse against gays and encouraged followers to spit in them and “blacken” them, calling gay people “scum” of society and “not human.”
Metropolitan Seraphim of Piraeus announced that his office and he, personally, would stop working with any politicians who voted yes for the civil partnership law.
The outspoken Seraphim issued a second statement the day before the vote, blaming Jews, Americans, the U.S. Consulate in Thessaloniki, the U.S. Embassy in Athens, George Soros, the Rothchilds and the Rockefellers for promoting gay rights in Greece and for seeking to push the homosexual agenda in Europe and in Greece.
Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras spoke after the vote, saying that “Greek society is not as fearful and mean as some people wish to present it.”
“We have a long distance to cover to continue the daily struggle against every type of discrimination, especially against racism,” he said. “This struggle needs democratic forces and social movements to come together, it requires constant vigilance and political courage so we do not let darkness win,” Tsipras said.