LGBTI equality and human rights in Europe and Central Asia

Civil unions to become a reality in Cyprus

The Cypriot parliament has voted in favour of the Civil Partnership Bill, meaning that same-sex couples in Cyprus will be legally recognised for the first time.

The legislation, which has generated lots of debate nationally, will offer couples the same rights as civil marriage. However, joint adoption rights are not included as part of the civil union law. 39 members of parliament voted in favour of the bill, 12 against and three members abstained.

ILGA-Europe are very pleased that the bill has finally been approved. We congratulate all the civil society groups, political leaders and allies involved in this lengthy campaign for their persistence and dedication to equality.

“Same-sex couples and their families are just as deserving of protection as their heterosexual friends and neighbours. This is not about giving one group ‘special rights’ but about recognising the wonderful diversity of families that live in Europe.” said ILGA-Europe Executive Director, Evelyne Paradis.

Today’s vote marks the end of a long period of public discussion in Cyprus; civil partnership recognition was first promised in 2013 with the current bill approved by the current government in May 2015. This was closely followed by the European Court of Human Rights’ unambiguous judgment in Oliari vs Italy, which stated that Italy’s failure to provide any form of legal recognition for same-sex couples violated Article 8 of the European Convention of Human Rights.

The LGBTI community, including well-known activist Alecos Modinos, had hoped that Cypriot parliamentarians would pass the Civil Partnership Bill promptly. However, arguments over the bill’s content delayed the final plenary vote from its original summer date until 26 November.