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Cyprus moves towards couple recognition

Timothy Kincaid

February 20th, 2013

Cyprus is a oddity. It is a member state of European Union and is ethnically about three quarters Greek. But it is geographically in the Middle East, bout 50 miles south of Turkey and within 100 miles off shore of Syria and Lebanon.

While there is a Turkish Muslim minority, Cyprus prides itself as one of the earliest Christian outposts, evangelized by Paul. Most Cypriots are Greek Orthodox and the nation is very religious.

However, Cyprus provides a slightly bizarre service to one of its other close neighbors.

In Israel, marriage is controlled by the official religious institutions which, if you are Jewish, is the orthodox Israeli rabbinate. And if you don’t qualify for a traditional halakhah wedding – or aren’t particularly religious – your options are limited. However, Israel registers foreign marriages without much question (including same-sex marriages), so many mixed-faith or non-religious Israelis travel out of the country to marry. Most go to Cyprus.

And it is against this background that Cyprus is beginning the process of allowing same sex couples to have some form of legal recognition. (CyprusMail) They’ve been discussing it since 2010 (though the news tended to translate as “marriages” at that time) but it looks as though a bill is finally going forward.

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 process has several more steps, but as best I can tell it has support from most of the political power structure. It’s fascinating to watch as the nations on the borders between East and West begin to address issues of equality.

Comments

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Ben in Oakland
February 21st, 2013 | LINK

The Greek Orthodox Church has lost a lot of ground in Cyprus due to a lot of financial and sexual scandals, including some with a little gay twist to them. Meanwhile, it has a large expat community and is constantly trying to sell land and vacation homes, especially to Brits.

I suspect a lot of this has something to do with those two factors.

paul canning
February 23rd, 2013 | LINK

I think it’s more complex on Israeli rights. My understanding is that Israel does recognise foreign same-sex marriages – but this does not grant them any rights. For same-sex couples they come not from a foreign marriage but from ‘unregistered cohabitation status’.

Timothy Kincaid
February 23rd, 2013 | LINK

Yes, I think you are correct on the way in which couple receive rights, Paul.

This subject is so strange sometimes. Some countries allow marriage but not adoption. Some US states allow adoption but zero couple recognition. Some counties give full rights but not the name.

And they say we are the ones trying to change the definition of marriage.

Ben in Oakland
February 26th, 2013 | LINK

You know, Timothy, it’s ALWAYS about projection.

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