Greek PM Kyriakos Mitsotakis addressed the Greek Parliament during a debate on the same-sex marriage bill, Thursday evening stressing that equal access to civil marriage “makes the life of our fellow citizens better without depriving anything of the lives of the majority”, referring to religious matrimony.

He said religious marriage is the exclusive affair of the Church, a position that the government respects, but civil marriage is decided by the state, responding to the tough stance of the Church for the marriage of same-sex couples.

Mitsotakis described the issue as a “social reality” and highlighted the legal possibilities that the bill would give to the parents of same-sex couples, such as both parents being able to pick up their child from school, travel, take them to the doctor, or in the case that one of the two parents is lost, the children would not end up with some distant relative or even in an institution for adoption.

Greek members of Parliament are debating a highly contentious draft bill tabled by the ruling conservative party New Democracy (ND) on the legalization of same-sex marriage and the right of said couples to adopt children.

Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis is scheduled to take the stand at 1:00 p.m., while the speech of former Prime Minister Antonis Samaras and ND MP at 6 p.m., is also anticipated with interest as he was among the most vocal dissenters to the bill.

The debate is set to conclude in the evening, after which a roll call vote will take place.

So far, out of the 158 MPs of the ruling party 6 have made their intentions to vote against the bill clear while two others have indicated they would abstain. Additionally, other members are expected to clarify their positions today (a total of 94 speakers have registered for the two-day debate).

However, it remains to be seen how those who have not yet publicly declared their positions will vote. This will become clear during the roll call vote, where all parties will be counted (the roll call vote was requested by SYRIZA and Victory-Spartans for different reasons).