House Moves to Lower Age of Consent for Gay Men
July 5, 2002
24 Vassiliou Voulgaroctonou St., P O Box 21144, 1502 Nicosia, Cyprus
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By George Psyllides
The House is expected next week to discuss the reduction in the age of
consent of homosexual males from 18 down to 16 in line with European Union
human rights provisions.
Chairman of the House Legal Affairs Committee Panayiotis Demetriou
requested that the plenum discuss and vote for the issue during yesterday’s
plenary session but House President Demetris Christofias told him it would be
discussed next Thursday.
The sudden urgency of the matter is certainly linked to the island’s
European accession course as the EU has clearly stressed that it would not
tolerate inequalities between the treatment of homosexuals and heterosexuals.
Cyprus only decriminalised homosexuality in 1998, five years after gay
activist Alecos Modinos won his battle at the European Court of Human Rights,
and is now coming under pressure on issues such as age of consent and even gay
But judging from the way the age of consent was treated among deputies
yesterday, it is certain that such would only be passed just to be in line
with the EU and not on human rights premises.
Discussions on the matter gave the impression that this was something
Cyprus was obliged to do and nothing else.
"What is expected from the House is to act and comply with Europe’s
recommendation," Demetriou said.
The proposed amendment, which was discussed behind closed doors earlier
yesterday, provides that the age of consent for homosexual males to be reduced
to 16, from the current 18, in line with legislation concerning heterosexuals.
It should be noted that the age of consent for homosexual females is
"There is a one-way road called EU accession course; travelling down
this road cannot be reversed or blocked by details, with all due respect to
the existing sensitivities over this matter," Demetriou said.
Asked whether the Church had tabled its position before the committee,
Demetriou said: "This state is obliged to comply with legislation in
force in the EU, towards which clerics and laymen say we are heading."
It would be doubtful if the Church, an ardent opponent of homosexuality,
would react to reducing the age of consent, but after the legalisation of
homosexuality four years ago it is certain that the all-mighty Church would
fiercely react to further ‘concessions’ such as gay marriages.
The gay Euro lobby has identified eight human rights issues that should
concern member states and candidate countries, including unequal legislation,
gay marriages, adoption and the rights of discrimination, so homosexuals can
enjoy the same rights as heterosexuals.
But when the matter had been mooted last year, Archbishop Chrysostomos had
vowed to fight any moves by Europe, which would allow gay marriage,
characterising homosexuals as depraved sinners and calling on the women of
Cyprus to revolt against them.
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