Cyprus Mail

‘Cyprus is not ready for gay marriage’

annual bi communal lgbtq+ pride at ledra palace inside the un buffer zone in nicosia

Cyprus’ government is marginalising the LGBT community and looking to maintain its conservative backing, a rights organisation said on Friday in reaction to government statements that politicians and society in Cyprus are not ready for gay marriage or adoption.

Speaking to the Cyprus Mail, NGO AcceptLGBT said: “We are not surprised by the deputy government spokesman’s statements.”

Earlier in the day, deputy government spokesman Yiannis Antoniou went on the record on Alpha television, saying that politicians and society are not ready for gay marriage and adoption.

“Currently these [LGBT rights] are not at the fore either in the political sphere or the communal sphere,” Antoniou said. He added that, “Neither politicians nor society prioritise LGBT rights.”

Antoniou expressed the view that at some point this dialogue will be opened in Cyprus, but emphasised that such matters are regulated by society..

“The government, by itself, is not willing to take the initiative, because we do not have a parliamentary majority,” he explained.

He recalled that in the past, an initiative had been taken by Charalambos Theopemptou and Alexandra Attalides and stressed that such a complex issue cannot be discussed “lightly”.

The two MPs had sought to promote a bill that would allow LGBT couples to adopt.

Antoniou also commented on a government strategy purportedly addressing LGBT community rights, mentioning that it is overseen by the justice ministry, but providing no further details on the plans of President Nikos Christodoulides’ government for the future.

Former Justice Minister Anna Procopiou had previously mentioned government plans to prepare an LGBT rights strategy, but, like Antoniou, failed to provide specifics, focusing solely on human rights.

Christodoulides himself, during his campaign, had said: “After the institutionalisation of civil partnerships, my position is that same-sex couples should have the right to civil marriage. In other words, formal recognition by the state that two people can make joint legal decisions without this being dependent on their gender. As far as adoption is concerned, there is a need for a broad consultation with all stakeholders, including the Children’s Commissioner, the State Ministry of Welfare and the LGBTI community.”

Reacting to these comments, AcceptLGBT accused the government of attempting to maintain conservative support while marginalising the LGBT community. They expressed skepticism regarding the government’s promises made during the election campaign.

The issue came to the fore following a vote in Greece to legalise same-sex marriage and adoption, which was enshrined into law on Thursday evening, following a parliamentary vote.

Commenting on the vote, which saw Greece become the first Orthodox country to legalise same-sex marriage, AcceptLGBT told the Cyprus Mail that it is a victory for society, and that Greece took a risk in passing this bill, as the country is still very conservative.

“Today, the Greek Parliament, the temple of democracy, passed the bill ‘Equality in civil marriage’, putting an end to the discrimination suffered by same-sex people in marriage and child adoption.

“Today is a milestone in LGBTI rights and in the very interest of the child of the same-sex family! Today the colourful families in our neighbouring country are celebrating and we rejoice with them.

“Once again, love has triumphed over hate,” the organisation said.

The organisation said that love defeated the fear of the church in Greece, who were “scaremongering” the public.

The organisation had said in their statement that they hope something similar would happen in “our Cyprus”.

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