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Cyprus lawmakers approve civil unions bill

Cyprus lawmakers approve civil unions bill

Same-sex couples living on the Mediterranean island of Cyprus look set to gain all of the same relationship rights and obligations as married couples if President Nicos Anastasiades signs a bill passed by lawmakers this week.

On Thursday 39 lawmakers voted in favor of the Civil Partnerships bill while only 12 voted against it and three abstained.

However same-sex couples living in Cyprus will still not be able to adopt children as joint parents – an issue that was left out of the bill.

The bill’s passing has been welcomed by the International Lesbian and Gay Association (ILGA).

The bill was heavily opposed by the Orthodox Church in Cyprus.

ILGA-Europe executive director Evelyne Paradis said it was right for gay and lesbian Cypriots to expect the same rights as everyone else.

‘Same-sex couples and their families are just as deserving of protection as their heterosexual friends and neighbours,’ she said.

‘This is not about giving one group “special rights” but about recognising the wonderful diversity of families that live in Europe.’

Homosexuality was only decriminalized in Cyprus in 1998. However it has had to improve its legislation around LGBTI rights since joining the European Union in 2004.

Cyprus’ capital Nicosia hosted its first ever LGBTI pride march in May of last year.