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GLBT Rights Europe D66 European Parliament

Cyprus stops discrimination against homosexuals

   Thu 11/07/2002

Dutch MEP Lousewies van der Laan is pleased that her efforts to change Cypriot legislation that discriminates against homosexuals have paid off. Today the Cypriot Parliament voted to abolish the discriminatory legislation. "This goes to show that if you threaten to block EU membership you can really stimulate changes that improve human rights", commented a delighted Van der Laan. Her threats to vote against Cyprus EU membership were frontpage news in Cyprus and helped to increased pressure to change the laws.

News as reported by Cyprus news Agency:

Cyprus House amends legislation to be in line with EU law

Nicosia, Jul 11 (CNA) -- The Cyprus House of Representatives approved this afternoon a bill amending the Penal Code, abolishing any discrimination between men and women regarding offences of a sexual nature, thus bringing the island in line with EU law. Deputy President of the House Law Committee, Ionas Nicolaou, told CNA that the legislation approved allows homosexual sex at 17 instead of 18 and raises the age of consent for heterosexuals from 16 to 17.

Some Euro MPs had threatened to vote against the island's EU accession unless changes were made on the age of consent for homosexuals. Member states in the European Union are allowed to set their own age of consent, as long as it is the same for homosexuals and heterosexuals. Cyprus scrapped British colonial-era laws making homosexual sex illegal in 1998 despite sustained church opposition. Copyright: CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY