Last edited: February 14, 2005

Black list threat for gay vote

Cyprus Mail, May 21, 1998
24 Vassiliou Voulgaroctonou St.
P O Box 1144
1502 Nicosia, Cyprus

By Jean Christou

Die-hard Orthodox traditionalists will compile a black list of all deputies voting to legalise gay sex between consenting adults today.

Provision is being made to ensure that deputies who do not want to vote in favour of decriminalising homosexuality at today's House plenum do not have to attend.

But it appears that enough lawmakers will nevertheless show up to adopt the controversial bill before the Council of Europe's May 29 deadline to change the island's antiquated gay laws.

Although no organised demonstration has been arranged for today, the Pancyprian Christian Orthodox Movement (PAHOK) said yesterday the deputies who turned out to vote in favour of the bill would pay a high price for their stance.

"We will keep track of them and when the time comes to vote again we will not vote for them," said PAHOK spokesman Christodoulos Vassiliades.

"Parliament has to represent the people who voted for them, and the people do not accept this."

Vassiliades said PAHOK had collected some 40,000 signatures from people opposed to the change in the law.

House Legal Affairs Committee Chairman Panayiotis Demetriou said yesterday arrangements were being made to facilitate deputies who did not want to vote today, but he said the necessary majority would be present at the House.

Demetriou said the official Disy position was to vote in favour of the bill, but admitted that four deputies were against the change.

Diko unanimously opposes the legalisation of homosexuality, while Akel, Edek and the United Democrats are all in favour.

"We are not against homosexuals, we are against what they do," Vassiliades said. "It does not sit with our Orthodox way of living and it's giving the wrong message to kids that homosexuality is normal."

He added that "many of these people" were going to priests asking for help to stop them being homosexuals.

"We want to help these people, not destroy them," Vassiliades said.

The Church of Cyprus recently launched a scathing attack on Europe over the gay issue, and has sent letters to all deputies calling on them to vote against the changes.

The Council of Europe (CoE) has given Cyprus one last chance to comply with a 1993 European Court of Human Rights ruling to decriminalise the island's gay laws.

Cyprus has until May 29 to comply or face serious repercussions, which could include expulsion from the CoE.

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