Greece has become the first Christian Orthodox-majority country to legalise same sex marriage and adoption in a historic ruling.

This verdict makes Greece the 16th European Union country, 21st country in Europe and 37th country globally to pass a law.

The country’s Parliament voted in a 176-76 majority in favour of the decision, on 15 February.

Greece first extended civil partnerships to same-sex couples in 2015, but stopped short of equal parental rights.

The new bill will allow same-sex couples to adopt children and recognises both parents as the legal guardian, something that had previously only been afforded to the biological parent.

However, the bill does not provide same-sex couples with access to assisted reproduction methods or the option of surrogate pregnancies. However, the bill does recognise children already born abroad through that method.

Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis previously vowed to help pass the law when he was re-elected in 2023.

AP reported that he told lawmakers: “People who have been invisible will finally be made visible around us. And with them, many children (will) finally find their rightful place.

“Both parents of same-sex couples do not yet have the same legal opportunities to provide their children with what they need.

“To be able to pick them up from school, to be able to travel, to go to the doctor, or take them to the hospital. … That is what we are fixing.”

The decision comes after a strong backlash and staunch opposition from the Orthodox Church, which pushed back against the proposal.

The Church issued a 1,500-word opinion expressing its concern.