Heated controversy erupted in Greece Tuesday after the mayor of Tilos, a small island in the Aegean sea, stood over the nation's first gay "marriage" ceremony. In total, 30 couples were wed.
Response from government officials throughout Greece – a conservative, Christian Orthodox nation – was furious and prompt. Officials said gay "marriage" was illegal under the law, and were investigating a prosecution case against the mayor for "breach of conduct."
"There is no legal framework for the holding of same-sex weddings in Greece," Greek Justice Minister Sotiris Hatzigakis explained in a statement.
Mayor Anastassis Aliferis, a self described socialist, however, said that he would block any attempts to see the marriages annulled.
"I have no intention of annulling the marriages," he told Agence France-Presse.
Aliferis has sided with gay rights groups in claiming that the country's constitution does not specify that marriage is "between a man or woman."
"Under European law, there can be no discrimination, and I hope the authorities keep that in mind to avoid ridiculing our country," he said.
According to a poll conducted in April by Ethnos daily, a plurality of Greeks surveyed said they were opposed to gay "marriage." Over 48 percent said they "oppose the legalization of same-sex relations."
Also, the Greek Orthodox Church also officially frowns upon homosexuality. In a 2004 statement, the late head Archbishop Christodoulos called homosexuality a "defect."