- Cyprus : Downer in the dog house over dinner diplomacy
- Opinions : Our View: Government needs to get its priorities straight
- Cyprus : Shiarly: no excuse for spending money you do not have
- Cyprus : Orphanides: they trashed the banks to win votes
- Cyprus : Cost cutting pays off in first quarter
- Cyprus : Capital controls relaxed further
- Cyprus : Historic visit by Russian warships
- Cyprus : Leukaemia boy’s family warns of fake collection in Paphos
- Cyprus : Interest rate reductions will help economy, spokesman says
- Cyprus : New law will result in more modern co-op sector
LGBT group hails decision on civil partnerships
HUMAN rights group ACCEPT-LGBT yesterday hailed the Cabinet’s recent decision to pass a draft bill on civil partnership in order to enable couples to be legally recognised outside of marriage.
The non-governmental organisation (NGO),which deals with issues concerning lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transsexuals (LGBT) said it expected as a next stage, a series of consultations and discussions with various stakeholders, including ACCEPT.
The draft bill passed through the Cabinet last Thursday and the legal services will need to process and approve it before passing it on to parliament for discussion and voting.
“We are at the service of all relevant bodies to collaborate as the bill is processed,” the NGO said.
“This will be a first step towards the recognition and ratification of gay couples in Cyprus law and society in general, in the context of egalitarianism, and equal treatment before the law,” ACCEPT said.
Cyprus does not legally accept any form of cohabitation outside of marriage, leaving cohabitating partners unable to handle a number of issues relevant to a shared life including pensions, shared health insurance, sorting out taxes or inheritance, or even visiting a loved one in hospital as a family member.
Authorities started discussing cohabitation rights in 2011 when a 93-year-old woman was refused a widow’s pension.
The woman never married her partner of 67 years and father of her eight children, and complained to the Ombudswoman. A civil partnership can eradicate such problems by giving partners the same benefits, rights and obligations that married couples have.
Two different administrations at the Ombudswoman’s office have also said that the state violates gay couples' human rights by not recognising their relationships.
In the context of the presidential elections this month, ACCEPT-LGBT held meetings with the main contenders.
The NGO spoke to EDEK-backed Giorgos Lillikas who came close to a run-off with forerunner, DISY leader Nicos Anastasiades, as well as AKEL-backed Stavros Malas who got through to a second round against Anastasiades.
“For the first time during a presidential election campaign, the three main contenders have discussed and accepted issues that were previously considered taboo for Cyprus society, recognising (society’s) progress."
“Just like the rest of Europe, Cyprus society recognises and becomes increasingly acceptant of the need to regulate gay couples’ relationships but also the need to tackle homophobia and transphobia,” ACCEPT said.
The main contenders have stood in favour of regulation of gay couples as a first step to address discrimination, have committed to address discrimination both legally and within state departments, and have promised to include civil societies in discussion that concerns them, ACCEPT said.
Anastasiades said that his party had been publicly supporting civil partnership since 2010.
Malas went beyond public support of civil partnership and stood in favour of a national action plan to combat LGBT discrimination.
Moving towards civil partnership “responds to an evolving social reality and the real needs of people who are equal members of society,” ACCEPT said.