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14 June, 2024
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Diversity and the Church

Cyprus contemplates same-sex couples and parenting: A social shift ahead?

Apostolis Tomaras

Apostolis Tomaras

The ongoing discussion in Greece regarding same-sex couples and parenting is poised to capture the attention of the political leadership and Cypriot society at some point. Unlike some European countries where issues concerning the diversity of European citizens are openly addressed and regulated, the topic has been a bit touchy in these parts. However, examples from other countries show that it's possible for leaders to be open about it.

Mark Rutte, as the Prime Minister of the Netherlands, used to attend European Council meetings with his partner. He continued this practice when he visited Cyprus during Nicos Anastasiades' presidency. Rutte comfortably engaged in joint appearances and activities with the then-First Lady. In Greece, the president of the official opposition does the same, accompanied by his partner, and recently, his spouse. Greek society seems to be showing signs of acceptance.

The big question is, how will Cypriot society react if the political leadership attempts the obvious – to demonstrate that all citizens have equal rights, and there are no divisions based on personal choices, sexuality, or relationships? What adds more interest to the mix is how the Church of Cyprus will respond. Will it follow the outdated and divisive chants of fringe ecclesiastical groups, reminding us that extreme elements exist not only in Islam?

The Archbishop of Cyprus, in his interview with "K," took a moderate stance, stating that the Church doesn't make laws. However, he added that if and when the issue of same-sex couples and parenting arises, the Church will express its position. So far, the Archbishop's stance is serious and reasonable. No one expects the Church to embrace these individuals, but it can show outwardly that everyone is a child of the same God.

Unfortunately, even in the Church of Cyprus, there are extremist voices that will put the Holy Synod in a difficult position whenever the issue arises. In Greece, Archbishop Ieronymos has proven to be a serious and level-headed voice on a challenging matter from a church perspective. Archbishop Chrysostomos II should avoid the exclusionary tactics of a few and refrain from marginalizing citizens who have chosen something different. The Church is one of the oldest institutions and can withstand the legalization of parenting by same-sex couples, proving it is not detached from societal reality.

[This op-ed was translated from its Greek original and edited for coherency in English]

Cyprus  |  same-sex  |  diversity

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