Last edited: February 14, 2005

Gays Ruling ‘Too Little, Too Late’

Cyprus Mail, July 6, 2002
24 Vassiliou Voulgaroctonou St., P O Box 21144, 1502 Nicosia, Cyprus
Fax: +357-2-676385

By George Psyllides

Gay activist Alecos Modinos yesterday censured the House for the way it treated the matter of reducing the age of consent of homosexual males from 18 to 16 in line with European Union human rights provisions.

The House on Thursday decided to discuss the issue next week despite an attempt from House Legal Affairs Committee Chairman Panayiotis Demetriou to convince the plenum to treat the matters as urgent and vote on it immediately.

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 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 partnership rights.

But despite the ‘favourable’ development, Modinos said it was "sad that the Legal Affairs Committee brought the issue up for the third time and all politicians insist that it is an obligation when they should have stressed that legislation should be changed because sexual orientation is a human right".

He added: "I believe it’s not a good step at all considering that no politician has dared to say that it is a human right and should be respected as such with actions and not words."

Modinos said that Cyprus should have modernised its legislation since 1993 when it was condemned by the European Court of Human Rights for violating his rights and not bring up the issue all of a sudden and try to pass it.

"This is the third time and they have no right to ridicule Cyprus like that," Modinos said.

Gay activists want to be treated equally and have the same rights as heterosexual people though judging from the government’s and the legislature’s track-record it would be a long and uphill struggle.

Even after passing the law decriminalising homosexuality the parliament managed to further insult gays by leaving in a reference to "unnatural licentiousness", which the gay community strongly objected to.

It took two years for the House to change the offending phrase to "intercourse between men".

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