THE justice ministry is preparing to amend the penal code to criminalise public displays of homophobia.
The current law states that it is a criminal offence to publically promote discriminatory acts of violence or hatred against those of a different colour, race, religion, nationality or ethnic background. It does not specifically include offences against homosexuals but the amendment is designed to address this.
The head of the anti-discrimination authority, Aristos Chartas, welcomed the news, saying it had been there suggestion.
“Adding this article is a very important step forward and we are very happy that the ministry is promoting it,” Chartas said.
But society still had a long way to go before such stereotypes were done away with.
“Although this is a great leap in the right direction, we also feel that civil partnerships should be allowed. We have been fighting for this for a long time,” he said.
According to Chartas the proposal was only recently decided on but he was not sure when it would be ready to be put into effect.
Reports suggested the amendment will deem it a criminal offense if a person publically threatens anyone because of their sexual orientation, either verbally, in writing, or by illustrations.
The penalty will be imprisonment for up to three years or a fine of up to €5,000, or both.