Greek Orthodox Church Bans Politicians Who Voted to Legalize Gay Marriage

A Greek Orthodox Church regional body has banned two local politicians for their support of the legislation that legalized same-sex marriage in the Eastern Mediterranean nation. Church authorities on the northwestern island of Corfu issued a statement banning the politicians for committing “the deepest spiritual and moral error” in voting for the law. “For us, these two local lawmakers cannot consider themselves active members of the Church,” stated the Bishop of Corfu, as quoted by The Associated Press. “We exhort them to repent for their impropriety.” The two lawmakers, who were not named in the report, will be barred from receiving communion and attending Orthodox Church events, and they will not be given formal honours from clergy at official ceremonies. The regional body commended another politician for voting against the gay marriage legislation, stating that this was “the kind of politician, irrespective of other convictions, that we need in our country.”

The Panhellenic Socialist Movement, a political party that supported the legalization of same-sex marriage to which one of the banned lawmakers belongs, called the Bishop of Corfu’s decision “unacceptable,” according to Associated Press. Last month, Greece’s Parliament passed a law legalizing same-sex marriage by a vote of 176 in favour and 76 against, coming off of a lengthy period of polarizing debate over the issue. In addition to legalizing gay marriage, the law also allowed married same-sex partners to adopt. However, this measure did not include allowing same-sex gay couples to receive children through surrogate mothers. The law was drafted by Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis’s centre-right government, which had the support of left-wing parties. “This is a milestone for human rights, reflecting today’s Greece — a progressive, and democratic country, passionately committed to European values,” stated Mitsotakis, according to CNN.

The new law makes Greece, which previously had legalized civil union partnerships for same-sex couples, the first majority Orthodox Christian nation to have legalized gay marriage. Mitsotakis stated that he was unwilling to presently deal with the question of surrogacy, saying that the notion of “women who are turned into child-producing machines on demand … that is not going to happen.” According to the United States-based LGBT advocacy group the Human Rights Campaign, 36 countries worldwide have legalized gay marriage, with 25 doing so through national legislation. Last year, the Eastern European nation of Estonia passed a law legalizing same-sex marriage, with the measure taking effect on New Year’s Day. The move of the Corfu Bishop comes as church officials in Piraeus made a similar move impacting local lawmakers who voted in favour of same-sex marriage.

Source: Christian Post

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