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Bill Criminalizing Homophobic Behavior Introduced In Cyprus Parliament

CyprusrainbowAs Cyprus heads toward its first ever gay pride parade later this month, the House Legal Affairs Committee has introduced an intriguing and exciting bill to parliament. The bill would criminalize homophobic behavior with a severe punishment: a 5,000 euro fine and up to three years in prison. 

ILGA Europe reports:

AKEL MP Aristos Damianou told the press that it was about time to introduce a bill regarding homophobic behaviour, since racist and xenophobic behaviour are already criminalised. Asked what constitutes “homophobic behaviour”, he said that the bill defines it as one “that encourages hate against individuals or groups that have a sexual preference.” Damianou added that “in this day and age we are required to do so by our international commitments."


Asked by the Cyprus Mail why “homophobic behaviour” has such a vague definition, the MP said that vagueness was in fact the goal of the legislators. “The definition is purposefully vague so as to give courts the flexibility to judge such cases based on the evidence before them."

Opposing party AKEL would prefer slight more definition; they've asked the committee to revise the bill in order to allow individuals to file suit within its parameters.

The Cyprus LGBT community is also awaiting the passage of a civil union bill which has been in the works for some months. 

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  1. Why are homophobic people so strategic, relentless and goal orientated? And non-homophobic wet?

    I'm lost.

    Posted by: Rowan | May 10, 2014 2:08:27 PM

  2. Hardly "exciting" Andy.. If we support freedom of speech, then we must support freedom for all kinds, even the kind that we don't like. The right wing in this country looks to Europe and says that their anti-speech and religious-restricting laws prove that the LGBT community wants to take away their right to be bigots. They claim we are intolerant and want to oppress them. Your introduction just feeds that narrative

    Posted by: Dana | May 10, 2014 2:14:16 PM

  3. Playing devil's advocate for a moment, I must note that "... against individuals or groups that have a sexual preference" means that bisexuals could be singled out. My point is only that the quoted phrase seems so vague as to be almost useless. I admit that I can think of no more suitable phrase...

    Posted by: Chuck Mielke | May 10, 2014 2:15:38 PM

  4. Cyprus is a favorite hiding place for Russian oligarch money, and a major vacation destination for Russians. Just sayin'.

    Posted by: Hansel Currywurst | May 10, 2014 2:24:57 PM

  5. Doesn't everyone have a sexual preference?

    Greece really is a very odd place

    Posted by: Wendy3Becca | May 10, 2014 2:41:56 PM

  6. Freedom of speech and freedom of association trump your desire to punish bigots.

    Posted by: enchantra | May 10, 2014 2:43:47 PM

  7. i'm guessing this is only for the greek half of the island.

    Posted by: woody | May 10, 2014 2:58:08 PM

  8. It isn't really criminalizing bigotry, but bigoted behavior.... I think. It is a very odd law. In HS I, and I would guess some others here as well, was put through hell. Many did not like me because I was different. That's life I guess. I never expected anyone to tell them they would be punished for not liking me, or thinking me odd. Actually I felt proud not to be like those idiots. Only if they physically manifested their hatred would I expect something to be done.

    Posted by: Wendy3Becca | May 10, 2014 3:01:00 PM

  9. Just out of curiosity, which side of Cyprus is this?

    Posted by: Vera | May 10, 2014 4:11:15 PM

  10. Wendy3becca: "Doesn't everyone have a sexual preference?"

    Some bisexuals, and I assume all asexuals do not have a sexual "preference", as the translator has put it.

    Posted by: Randy | May 10, 2014 5:46:52 PM

  11. @Wendy3Becca: although both have greek as their official language, Greece (the Hellenic Republic) and the Republic of Cyprus are two distinct countries. The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus would be a third country, but this one (created after the 1974 invasion by the Turks) is only recognized by Turkey. @vera: this is about the southern part, AKEL (ανορθωτικό κόμμα εργαζόμενου λαού, progressive workers' party) is a greek cypriotic party :-)

    Posted by: Kylian | May 10, 2014 7:05:11 PM

  12. If that passes, I will NOT bring my gay tourism dollars to another bigoted country.Some nations will NEVER learn. These ass backwards nations are showing the world how regressive they truly are. The list keeps growing.

    Posted by: Patrick | May 11, 2014 5:04:58 AM

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