Sex ed law blocked

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President Nicos Anastasiades has referred the contentious sex education bill back to parliament, deeming it unconstitutional.

Education Minister Prodromos Prodromou had argued that the government found the bill unconstitutional as introducing a lesson designed for sexually educating students would violate a regulation on school timetables.

The minister had said regulating school timetables falls under his jurisdiction.

Nonetheless, Prodromou said on Thursday that his ministry would submit a proposal to Cabinet to roll out sex education across schools.

In comments to state radio CyBC, government spokesperson Marios Pelekanos confirmed that Prodromou would submit a proposal in the coming weeks.

“The aim is to achieve what the law intended but through another route,” said Pelekanos.

According to Pelekanos, even though the president will send the law back to parliament, the government still seeks to implement the essence of what it seeks to do.

MPs passed the law last month amid a heated atmosphere.

House Speaker Annita Demetriou had called Prodromou’s earlier objections in the matter “blatantly unethical” and violated the separation of powers.

Prodromou said his ministry supported the introduction of sex ed in schools, “but it should be done correctly”.

The law aims to help children understand signs of abuse and know where and when to seek help.

It passed with 39 votes in favour, with far-right Elam’s three deputies, independent MP Andreas Themistocleous objecting, and centrist DIKO’s eight deputies abstaining.

During the debate, Themistocleous described the law as “nothing but an abomination. It is disgusting, deplorable and sad”.

He said it resulted from “a homosexual and perverted storm” hitting Cypriot society.

“We will teach children that it’s ok for two women to kiss each other and for men to do the same.

“We will teach them that two women or two men can have a child,” Themistocleous was reported saying.

His comments were deplored as hate speech and a “disgrace to public office” by fellow MPs.