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Post image for ‘Homophobic Behavior’ Could Mean Three Years Jail Time Under New Cyprus Bill

‘Homophobic Behavior’ Could Mean Three Years Jail Time Under New Cyprus Bill

by Jean Ann Esselink on May 8, 2014

in Discrimination,International,Jean Ann Esselink,News

The island of Cyprus has a hate speech law in place that protects victims of racism and xenophobia. Now the House Legal Affairs Committee has introduced a bill extending similar protection to members of the LGBT community. The bill would create stiff penalties for “homophobic behavior”.

mp cyprusAristos Damianou, (left) a member of parliament from the liberal AKEL party, told reporters from the Cyprus Mail that they were taking up the bill because:

 “In this day and age we are required to do so by our international commitments.”

Mr. Damianou explained the term “homophobic behavior” was chosen for its lack of specificity, telling reporters:

“The definition is purposefully vague so as to give courts the flexibility to judge such cases based on the evidence before them.”

Punishment for anti-gay behavior under the new law can be as much as three years jail time and/or a fine of up to $7,000. (5000 Euros.) The AKEL party is hoping to add the ability for victims of homophobia to sue for damages once it comes up for debate.

Cyprus recently became the last European country to decriminalize gay sex. Cypriots plan to hold their first ever Gay Pride parade at the end of this month, around the same time a civil unions bill is introduced in parliament.

But not everyone is on board with the new leap into modernity.

Archbishop Chrysostomos, the head of the Cypriot Orthodox Church in Cyprus, objected loudly to the bill, saying the government would be guilty of a “weakening moral integrity” if they pass any LGBT protections.

ulrike lunacekUlrike Lunacek, (left) a member of the European Parliament and President of the LGBT Intergroup, reacted to the Archbishop:

“The statements by the Archbishop are a reminder that opponents of equality are still there, yet also show how far Cyprus’ Orthodox Church is detached from reality.”

Aristos Damianou added:

“What we did, basically, is to ensure that people have a right to choose their partners regardless of whether other people like it or not.”

I think we can put Archbishop Chrysostomos firmly in the “not” category.



A previous edition of this story incorrectly identified Archbishop Chrysostomos as the head of the Catholic Church in Cypress.


Feature Image via Facebook
Aristos Damianou photo via Facebook
Ulrike Lunacek photo via Facebook



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SeanLiberty13 May 8, 2014 at 5:02 pm


LOrion May 8, 2014 at 5:54 pm

YES.. once they get marriage.. may get a nomination for MOST CIVILIZED nation.

joanna from cyprus May 9, 2014 at 2:54 am

The archbishop of Cyprus isn't Catholic. As per Wikipedia and any encyclopedia you can find: "The Church of Cyprus is one of the oldest Eastern Orthodox autocephalous churches, achieving independence from the Patriarchate of Antioch and All the East in 431"

If you look at a map, you'll see Cyprus is far, far to the east and would never have gone with Rome when the churches split in 1054.

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