Greece Orthodox Church excommunicates members of Parliament for supporting same-sex marriage

The Orthodox Church in Corfu, Greece, excommunicated two members of Parliament on Tuesday. This action was sparked by the politicians’ support for a bill that legalised same-sex marriage in the country, which was passed in February.

The diocese of Corfu held a General Priest Assembly on Tuesday to discuss the matter, after which a statement was released, banning the two members of parliament from any church events and from participating in the sacraments of the church. It was expressly stated that this decision was because the two individuals voted in favour of legalizing same-sex marriage. The statement further highlighted the church’s opposition to the bill, pointing out that the politicians had voted in favour of the bill despite the church’s official letter articulating their concerns over the bill.

The bill, which was passed with a majority of 176 votes, not only amends the civil code to allow marriage regardless of gender but also ensures protection against discrimination for same-sex couples in areas such as education. In addition, it adapts labor, social insurance and civil service laws to extend benefits to same-sex spouses and parents, as well as recognizes same-sex marriages and parental relationships established abroad.

Corfu is now the third diocese in Greece to respond in this way to the bill, alongside Pirayus and Kythira, who have also reportedly excommunicated members of parliament from the church for the same reason. Despite this, the bill has been praised internationally for making Greece the first Orthodox Christian country to legalise same-sex marriage.