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Contentious sex education law being referred back to parliament

school kids
Photo: Christos Theodorides

The contentious sex education law will be referred back to parliament as the attorney-general has deemed it unconstitutional, the government said on Thursday.

Nonetheless, Education Minister Prodromos Prodromou will be submitting a proposal to Cabinet to roll out sex education across schools.

“The aim is to achieve what the law intended but through another route,” government spokesman Marios Pelekanos told the Cyprus Mail. Prodromou is likely to submit the proposal in the upcoming cabinet meeting or the one after it, the spokesman explained.

Deputies last month voted for sex education in schools. The law aims to help children understand signs of abuse and know where and when to seek help.

The law passed with 39 votes in favour, eight against from far-right Elam and independent MP Andreas Themistocleous. Diko’s eight deputies abstained.

Before it went to plenum, Prodromou sent House President Annita Demetriou a letter outlining the move was unconstitutional and would not be feasible to implement.

It would require a change of timetable which is determined by regulations that are approved by Cabinet, thus violating the separation of powers. Additionally, the training and additional staff required would affect the state budget, which is unconstitutional, Prodromou said, citing the attorney-general.

According to Pelekanos, even though the president will send the law back to parliament, the government still seeks to implement the essence of what it sought to do.

Prodromou has been on the airwaves for the past few weeks, saying schools already teach sex education and it was rolled out for younger ages last year. He argued the ministry was not opposed to sex education – seeing as it was ensuring it was being taught – but having it legislated by parliament was unconstitutional.

The debate led to accusations of hate speech, after independent MP Andreas Themistocleous described the law as “nothing but an abomination. It is disgusting, deplorable and sad. We will teach children that it’s ok for two women to kiss each other, and for men the same. We will teach them that two women or two men can have a child.
“You can’t just grab a child and teach them whatever you want. They’ll teach kids that there are 64 genders, about gender fluidity. So that Kostakis was born a boy and then became Mariyoulla.”

Akel and the Green Party have censured Themistocleous saying his speech amounted to hate speech and a “disgrace to public life.

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