An amendment to legislation regulating the allocation of children to foster homes, allowing for same-sex couples to become foster parents, was ratified by the Hellenic Parliament on Wednesday, with 161 votes for and 103 against.

The vote put an end to a long and heated debate over the issue, with conservative groups expressing their opposition to the proposal, often confusing foster care with adoption.
The legislation that passed grants the right to foster children to couples under civil partnership, clearly stating that they cannot adopt children.

The parliamentary debate allowed for Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras to attack the opposition on matters of principle, accusing them for reproducing “anachronistic stereotypes and phobia syndromes.”

He particularly targeted the opposition leader, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, deeming him as a “deeply conservative” politician, despite presenting a facade of a progressive, liberal centrist.

However, this amendment proved to be divisive for parties along the whole of the political spectrum; apart from the conservative Centrist Union and the neonazi party Golden Dawn, that were unanimous in their vote against the proposal, and the centrist Potami who all voted yes, all the other parties showed cracks. Four of the Nea Dimokratia MPs voted in favour of the amendment, among them Katerina Marcou, who was the party member that presented the party’s arguments against it. The vote was mostly problematic regarding the relationship between the two governing coalition partners. While 136 of the 145 leftist Syriza MPs voted yes, the junior coalition partner, the far-right party party ‘Independent Greeks’ (ANEL) was mostly against. Out of the nine MPs of the party, only two voted yes, while five voted no and two were excused from voting. In total 36 MPs opted out of the vote, among them seven from Syriza, eight from ND, seven from the Democratic Coalition (led by PASOK) and eight from the communist party.

The outcome of the vote was welcomed by human rights organisation representatives, many of them had been present, sitting at the visitors’ booths, but also from several foster care organisations, as this will allow for many children who are now living in these facilities to be allocated to foster parents. The new legislation also speeds up the child adoption process, cutting red tape that prospective parents would have to navigate.