The Holy Synod of the Greek Orthodox Church urged the coalition government to withdraw a legislation on gender change that is to be voted through the Parliament on upcoming Monday.
In a statement the Holy Synod said that the proposed bill challenges the feeling society, it torpedoes the sacred institution of the family and contrasts with morality and common sense and destroys the human being. Instead of diminishing confusion and mental disorders, it will increase them and give rise to a dangerous social phenomenon.”
The statement makes a special reference to the bill that allows teenagers as young as 15 years old to undergo gender change provided they have their parents’ consent and undergone medical evaluation by a special team at a specific children’s hospital in Athens.
“Especially when the bill extends its possibilities among pupils, “it creates an explosive situation in schools,” the Church statement underlined adding that the bill serves the interests of strong [lobby] groups.
Warning of dissolving “the social cohesion and the spiritual death of human being” Archbishop Ieronymus and the members of the Holy Synod said “this is the ultimate appeal to the political world as a whole” to stand by its responsibility and mission, beyond political ideals and prejudices and “withdraw the bill” and show similar interest in solving the most serious problems that plague our society, our nation and the people.”
The parliamentary committees of Justice, Public Administration and Public Order approved the bill two days ago. Lawmakers from coalition left-wing SYRIZA, nationalists Independent Greeks (ANEL), but also MPs from opposition parties PASOK and To Potami voted in favor of the bill in principle. MPs from Communist KKE and far-right Golden Dawn voted against it.
Lawmakers from major opposition party, conservative New Democracy, refrained from taking position.
In recent days, two to three lawmakers from the coalition government parties have said that they would not vote in favor of the bill when it comes to Parliament voting.
New Democracy has implied it may follow the line of ANEL who are also conservatives.
The bill makes gender change possible with a simple written declaration, as little as possible bureaucracy involved as well as protection form the public in the court. KTG has understood that a judge will still have to approve the request. The bill practically facilitates the legal recognition of gender change.
According to latest information from private ANT1 TV on Thursday evening, there seem to be more SYRIZA lawmakers opposing the bill controversial provision about allowing teenagers to gender change. Also ANEL MPs consider to down vote the bill if the age provision would not change. Similar tunes come also from New Democracy. Some conservative MPs wanted also bill modification that people who have changed gender would not be allowed to get married and adopt children.
Meanwhile, also 20 monasteries from Mount Athos issued a statement urging the government to withdraw the bill. “The bill does not have the consent of the people,” they said among others asking “What will come next?”
An ANEL MP argued last week, there was risk to violate the “Avaton” of Mt Athos by women who have changed their gender into men. Women are prohibited from visiting the autonomous polity of Mount Athos.
Commenting on the Church statement, former SYRIZA Minister of education, Nikos Filis, said “We would not except anything different from the church.”
PS there have been many bills that did not have the consent of the people in times of austerity cuts, increasing poverty and economic crisis. I don;t remember that the Holy Fathers opposed those bills – how much more the Mt Athos monasteries….