Bills for changes in marriage law are being discussed in Greece. They are related to the institutionalization of marriage between homosexual partners, as well as changes in the law on the adoption of children and surrogacy. One of the proposals will soon be considered in the Greek parliament, according to which homosexual couples can also use surrogate mothers to have children.
Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis has announced that the government is determined to legalize same-sex unions as marriage, but is against changing the legislation on children. According to the government’s plans, “same-sex marriage will be institutionalized”, but the government will continue to deny same-sex couples and single men the right to surrogate parenthood. Also, same-sex couples will not be allowed to adopt children. He added that in Greece, since 1946, heterosexual families, as well as single women and single men, have the right to adopt children.
K. Mitsotakis said that he respects the opinion of the Church very much and that he knows that it protects love, but the state does not create the laws together with the Church, as was the case in the past. According to him, these couples exist, some of them have children, but they do not have legal status. The state must regulate these relations, which are already a fact in Greek society.
The Metropolitan of Larisa and Tirnovo Hieronymus noted that the plans for changes in the law on surrogacy are unfounded, it is not clear whether they are necessary, what their consequences will be, etc. “At the current stage,” he stated, “a surrogate mother can is only a woman who is related to the woman with reproductive problems. It can be carried out only on a voluntary basis, i.e. the surrogate mother does not receive money for it. And it is allowed only if there are medical and biological reasons that do not allow the mother to carry the child. It seems that in the future this will be bypassed, and we will have a paid pregnancy. Thus, a prerequisite for commercialization is created, which is unacceptable for the Church in Greece”. According to the metropolitan, the government is using a “trick”: it seemingly accepts the “lesser evil”, i.e. it legalizes same-sex marriages, but without the right to have children. However, according to the hierarch, this opens the door to future disputes and lawsuits, after which the legislative framework will change and same-sex “families” will be able to have children – adopted or from a surrogate mother.
A similar opinion was expressed these days by Metropolitan Ignatius of Dimitriades, who stated that Mitsotakis’ “explanations” on the bill on surrogacy did not satisfy the Church.
At the end of last year St. The Synod of the Greek Church issued a strong statement, expressing disagreement with the legalization of homosexual relationships as marriage, but especially with the changes affecting children. The synod stated that the civil union between homosexuals is not within the competence of the Church, but it will not recognize it as a sacramental marriage. However, the Church will oppose in all legal ways the possibility of these couples adopting children or using surrogate mothers in order to protect the rights of children.
Greece is one of the few countries in the European Union where surrogacy is allowed. Currently, only women who are relatives of the childless couple can become surrogate mothers, and there is no commercial nature, but “altruistic”. The law for this was passed in Greece in 2002, enabling heterosexual couples who cannot have children, as well as single mothers, to use a surrogate mother.
Surrogacy is prohibited in Bulgaria, Germany, Austria, France, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Norway, Sweden and Hungary, as well as in Switzerland.
The most liberal legislation is in Thailand, Ukraine, Russia, Poland, Georgia, Belarus, Mexico and South Africa, where surrogate mothers are allowed to offer their services online, through agencies or through any kind of advertising, and to be paid for the surrogacy.
Experts note that commercial surrogacy is increasing worldwide, with Ukraine, Georgia and Mexico standing out as the countries with the largest supply. Particularly vulnerable to exploitation are poor women, for whom it becomes the only possible source of income to raise their own children.
According to consulting firm Global Market Insights, the global commercial surrogacy industry is estimated to be worth $14 billion in 2022. By 2032, that number is expected to jump to $129 billion as reproductive issues in general deepen and become much more a large number of same-sex couples will look for ways to have a child.