In signs of a mounting clash between the Church of Greece and the leftist-led government, the Holy Synod on Thursday appealed to Greek politicians to revoke a controversial draft bill that would grant individuals the right to change their gender identity.
In a statement issued following a session chaired by Archbishop Ieronymos, the synod noted that the proposed bill “provokes public sentiment, torpedoes the holy institution of the family, opposes Christian values and common sense and, above all, destroys human beings.”
“Instead of lessening confusion and mental disturbances, it will increase them to the extent of creating a dangerous social phenomenon,” the synod’s statement said, adding that the extension of the bill’s provisions to include teenagers “will create an explosive situation in schools.”
According to the church, the aim of the bill is not to help “downtrodden and hard done by fellow human beings” but would lead to the “destruction of social cohesion and the spiritual necrosis of man.”
In its statement, the synod stressed that a person’s gender is a “holy legacy” and cannot be chosen. It added that existing Greek law comprehensively addresses “existing problems” regarding individuals with gender identity issues.
Under current laws, Greeks who want to change their gender definition must prove they have had surgery to change their sex and undergo psychiatric treatment.
The Church also issued a sharp reaction to a statement by former socialist minister and candidate for the leadership of Democratic Alignment, Yiannis Ragousis, according to which some bishops are gay.
“Vulgar, anti-clerical, pseudo-progressiveness has found its mouthpiece,” the church said, calling on Ragousis to provide evidence to back his claims within five days or face legal action.
Greek MPs are to start discussing the proposed legislation on Monday ahead of a vote expected to take place in Parliament late on Tuesday.
If approved, Greeks will henceforth be able to designate their gender with a simple legal procedure.