The attorney general has ordered a probe into possible offences committed by Morphou Bishop Neophytos following controversial statements he made on homosexuality and other matters, while discussion about the debate is proving to be intense in the public domain.
According to Cyprus News Agency, Attorney General Costas Clerides has ordered the probe following a statement issued by the Presidential Palace, which called for new legislation to make legal action easier against those who “poison society and a specific group of people.”
The statement, issued by Costas Gavrielides, an advisor to the President on issues of diversity and acceptance, was calling for new laws where legal action would be possible without relying on the judgment of one individual, namely the attorney general.
Clerides, who responded to the statement, issued his own statement saying he had given instructions to police to proceed with a probe into allegations of any criminal offence.
'It would have been better for the presidential advisor to know the basic provisions of the Constitution and respect its Institutions before making such similar statements'
The attorney general also said “it would have been better for the presidential advisor to know the basic provisions of the Constitution and respect its Institutions before making such similar statements.”
After serving as president of AcceptLGBT Cyprus, Gavrielides was appointed as advisor to the president for promoting multiculturalism, acceptance, tolerance and respect for diversity. He said he would forego his paycheck while trying to garner support to fight homophobia and prejudice.
The statements came following criticism towards Bishop Neophytos whose recent comments about homosexuality and abortion were shared publicly earlier this week public and stirred debate.
Neophytos said homosexuality is a trait transmitted during anal sex, adding that a man of God could detect gayness in men by a stench emanating from their bodies.
The Morphou diocese issued a statement saying that the bishop’s comments were taken out of context.
But Ombudswoman Maria Stylianou-Lottides, who weighed in on the issue, said the comments and views expressed by the bishop were reinforcing negative stereotypes against women and people who are gay.