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May 2017: Bill removing religion from civil marriage documents

The Cypriot government wants to pass a bill removing religious affiliation from civil marriage documents. The bill was supposed to be examined in commission at the House. The aim of this bill is to abolish the obligatory written statement concerning the religion of persons intending to marry. The government is following the recommendations of the Human Rights Commissioner in Cyprus, Eliza Savvidou (ΑΚΡ/ΑΥΤ. 1/2016, in Greek) According to the Ombudswoman’s report, the disclosure of religious beliefs in this context “violates human rights, exposes persons to discrimination and violation of rights of a person in respect of privacy and freedom of thinking, conscience and religion.” She also expressed deep concerns over personal data protection and the possible discrimination faced by people having to report their religious affiliation. A public consultation on the bill has now been undertaken by the Interior ministry.

Nicolas Kazarian
  • Update July 2015: The 2015 Law on Civil Partnerships

A bill for the civil partnership has been discussed for several years, but has never reached the House of Parliament for approval. On May 6, the Minister of Interior Socratis Hasikos announced that the relevant draft bill concerning both heterosexual and same-sex couples was approved by the Cabinet, and would next be sent to the parliament to be discussed and put to a plenum vote.

The Church of Cyprus has been the biggest opponent to the recognition by the State of any union outside traditional marriage between a man and a woman. When asked about the bill, the Archbishop stated that "the Church neither consents nor congratulates the Council of Ministers for the proposed legislation on Civil Partnership, nor will fight against it". At the same time, however, he expressed his concerns on the matter of adoption as he "does not believe that such couples can raise healthy children". In an official statement made by the Holy Synod on June 22, the Church stated that cohabitation in same-sex couples constitutes “a perfect perversion” and urged homosexuals “to fight against and get rid of their passion”.

On July 5, the local newspaper Phileleftheros reported that the Archbishopric had sent to all the churches a circular letter to be read during the Sunday service. The letter said, “in our small homeland that [the civil partnership] is not needed, since we know the behaviour of our people and the love it has towards family”. Furthermore, the strong objections of political parties, and the Church in particular, on the issue of adoption, has led to amend the legislation and include a specific provision explicitly excluding adoptions from the expected bill. It has been announced that the bill will be discussed again in the plenary on Thursday 9 July.

Eleonora Kyriakou

D 8 October 2018    AEleonora Kyriakou ANicolas Kazarian

CNRS Unistra Dres Gsrl

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