Greek government tones down rhetoric on sex change bill. Says it respects Church views

The issue is likely to widen divide of the already uneasy relationship between government and Church

The harsh and unequivocal condemnation by the Greek Orthodox Church and the Monastic community of Mount Athos of the government’s decision to pass the sex change law has led the SYRIZA-ANEL coalition government to partly backpedal, by changing its rhetoric. “The positions and views of the Church are completely respected”, the government said in an awkward statement.

Although in previous disagreements both sides had managed to find common grounds and move forward, this time it seems highly unlikely they will be able to reach any compromise, as the issue is at the core of SYRIZA’s ideological platform of protecting individual human rights, while it is very doubtful whether the Greek Church will back down on the matter.

The Holy Synod of the Orthodox Church was very clear in its statement on Thursday that it would accept nothing less than the complete withdrawal of the controversial bill. Following the Church’s official position on the matter, the Monks of Mount Athos also took a harch stance on the issue, accusing the government over the bill in a statement signed by all 20 monasteries that was sent to the majority of Greek MPs and the competent Ministers of Justice and Education.