A contentious bill legalizing same-sex marriage in Greece was passed by a Parliament majority of 176 deputies just before midnight on Thursday, in a roll call vote that transcended party lines.

Seventy-six deputies voted against, while two MPs declared “present”.

The final tally, after two days of intense and often acrimonious debate, means that 46 deputies chose to stay away from the plenum vote. Of ruling New Democracy (ND) party’s 158 deputies in the 300-MP legislature, 107 voted in favor, taking advantage of Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis’ previous statement that a strict “party line” would not be adhered to and that deputies could vote based on their personal views. Eleven deputies of the socialist PASOK party abstained from the vote, similar to high-profile SYRIZA MP and former alternate minister health minister Pavlos Polakis. The latter, a surgeon, said he had a previously scheduled operation to attend and would not vote.

Former premier and ND leader Antonis Samaras also voted against and expressed his absolute opposition, in an address from Parliament’s podium, saying same-sex marriage is not a human right.

Deputies of three right-of-center to far-right parties voted against, joining MPs of the Communist Party (KKE).

The new legislation revising article 1350 of the civil code means that Greece becomes the 37st country in the world to recognize same-sex marriage. The new law will also allow both partners in a same-sex marriage the right to be recognized as parents of children acquired by the other.

Taking to his X (Twitter) account after the vote, Mitsotakis welcomed the bill’s passage, saying that it reflects what Greece is today, a progressive, democratic country, one passionately  committed to European values.