By Constantinos Psillides
The Cabinet on Wednesday approved the long-awaited and hotly debated legislation on civil partnerships. The legislation will now be sent to the parliament where it will be discussed and put a plenum vote.
According to an official government statement, the aim of the legislation is to “bring social justice and respond to the needs of the people.”
The legislation outlines the conditions under which two people are allowed to form a civil partnership, regulates matter of property and alimony, and the conditions under which the partnership can be dissolved.
LGBT rights NGO, Accept-LBGT Cyprus, welcomed the Cabinet’s decision urging parliamentary parties to work swiftly towards passing the legislation.
“The government is living up to its promises, taking the first step towards modernising the state’s institutions. We also welcome the efforts of all parliamentary party representatives that took part in the group that worked towards promoting the legislation to the government and to their respective parties,” said a statement issued by the NGO on Wednesday.
Asked whether society was ready for civil partnerships, Interior Minister Socratis Hasikos said: “I am sure it is, since this was society’s demand.”
On any possible reaction from the Church, Hasikos added: “It is the Church’s right to object or disagree.”
While the Church has yet to issue an official statement, the Holy Synod’s reaction to the first Gay Pride parade organised on the island last year leaves no room for questions. Responding to the announcement of the parade, the Synod had called homosexuality “an affliction and a moral downfall”.
It also claimed that it could be treated and stressed that “the church is opposed to all attempts for homosexuality to be socially accepted and protected by law”.
The legal framework regarding civil partnerships was first approved by the previous cabinet on February 14, just three days before the first round of the presidential elections in 2013.
Hasikos scrapped the legislation in 2014, claiming that his predecessor Eleni Mavrou had skipped part of the legislation process.
In December 2013 it was promised that the bill would be ready by April 2014. Delays in passing the legislation led to an Accept delegation meeting with the president last year. He publicly pledged that he would not back down.
The second annual Gay Pride Parade is scheduled for June 6.