Cyprus’ top lawyer: Bishop’s remarks on gays broke no law

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NICOSIA, Cyprus (AP) — Cyprus’ attorney general says he’s found no indication that a senior Orthodox Christian cleric broke the law by making widely-condemned remarks about homosexuality.

Costas Clerides said in a statement that some “isolated references” by Bishop Neophytos of Morphou merited criticism and dissent. But he said the full context of his remarks did not incite hatred or violence, or constitute hate speech.

The bishop triggered condemnation by Cyprus’ government, politicians and rights groups after saying in a June lecture that homosexuality could be passed on to unborn children if a pregnant woman had anal sex — a claim with no scientific basis.

The Church of Cyprus has issued no formal comment, although individual bishops voiced disapproval with Neophytos’ remarks.

Clerides said Monday spiritual leaders should avoid “incautious and ill-prepared” views.

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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