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Cypriot MEP “offended” by pictures of gay families

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  1. So an MEP from a (still) war-torn country objects to us queers.
    why on earth does the civilised so-called secular western countries of the EU bother to maintain these self-righteous hypocrites

  2. Peter Muller 17 Dec 2008, 1:16pm

    The man is as uninformed as he is narrow minded. In view of the fact that he felt it necessary to vent his discomfort(?!) to the highest European office, I feel it is the obligation of this site to make his email address available so that anyone who feels the need to can pay him the same respect.

  3. Robert, ex-pat Brit 17 Dec 2008, 1:28pm

    This is about his antigay Greek Orthodox cult beliefs at work here. Greece is one of the most homophobic societies in Europe where approximately 73% of the country thinks that a gay orientation is abnormal and disgusting. Italy isn’t far behind either, among others.

  4. Bastard. I can’t believe that Greece was allowed into the EU so long before other countries yet they continue to practice their backwards beliefs.

  5. Simon Murphy 17 Dec 2008, 3:00pm

    Cindy – he is not Greek – he is Cypriot.
    This pig is a member of the subcoimmittee of human rights in the European Parliament. Thanks to his views he is not suitable to be a member. Write to them to urge them to remove him at

  6. Poor idiot – this is 2008

  7. Robert & Cindy – Matsakis is from Cyprus, not Greece. I’m a Cypriot living in London and Matsakis is well known in Cyprus (and now around the world) as an outspoken moron. How this man became an MEP is beyond me. He might be offended by pictures of gay families, but I’m, in turn, offended that he is even associated with my country. I urge the European Parliament to bring him up on this matter. Zazou, you’re right – it’s 2008 and maybe our MEP’s should have a broader spectrum of the world and the diverse communities they represent. Absolute moron.

  8. ross hunter 17 Dec 2008, 4:54pm

    The motivated few can have more influence than the viscous masses (badly quoted – sorry)
    This guy doesn’t quite have Iris Robinson’s icy touch, but is equally misguided..

    Here’s my email to

    If the article is factually correct, it is clear he is unfit to retain his membership with the subcommittee of human rights in the European Parliament. Please investigate further.
    Do you agree that his comments to the President of the European Parliament, Hans-Gert Pöttering should provide enough evidence so that he should not be involved in human rights issues what-so-ever? Can you confirm he should be removed promptly from the subcommittee please?

  9. Just to add to Eleni’s comments, he is Cypriot and not Greek. To say that a country should not have been “let in” because of the behaviour of one of its MEP’s is just as small minded as Matsakis himself. Why not throw out Britain because of Kilroy-Silk’s views on race and imigration! As a Cypriot living in London, I also condemn him for his homophobia but I would not deem a nation “backward” because of him.

  10. Terry Floyd Johnson 17 Dec 2008, 5:39pm

    He needs to get out of politics if seeing gay families burns his sensiblities. He is out of touch with reality. Cyprus, Greece, Italy are countries that want to be in the days of old, where they can punish those who are not like them.

    Take Greece, Italy, and Cyprus out of the European context, let them fester in their own hate and bile.

  11. Marion Oprel 17 Dec 2008, 7:00pm

    My family is on this poster, and I am an employee of the European Parliament with a soft spot for Cyprus. I got to know the island when I first visited it with the ALDE Liberal group (currently Mr. Matsakis’ group) in 1996, long before Cyprus joined the EU.
    As a former president of EGALITE, the association of LGBT staff of the European institutions, I witnessed the process of Cypriot sensitization to the concept of the Copenhagen criteria, which include respect for human rights as a basic principle of the EU.
    I wish the Cypriot population, the ALDE group, the EP and all of Europe’s citizens a serene and respectful debate on equality and mutual respect, and a truthful quest when it comes to the concept of judgement of others. Can we be balanced if we downgrade others?
    How would a world free of bigotry look like? Can we enjoy more piece of mind if we allow others the same rights and freedom that we have?

  12. Same position was announced by Lithuanian EP Sarunas Birutis.

  13. TheRadicalRealist 17 Dec 2008, 9:33pm

    I am offended by this picture of his ugly motherfucking face!

  14. I wish the article would define MPE or explain what it is. I say the headlines and ignored it for a while then i thought I would check it out but it really does not explain. We have MP (Military Police) and I was thinking maybe it is something like that. But i am assuming it is the country’s representative in the EU…but I am still not ready to put money on it.

  15. Perhaps Mr. Matsikis should devote his time and considerable intellect to solving the on-going dispute in Cyprus. If his sensibilities are so delicate, then perhaps he ought not be on the sub-committee for Human Rights.

  16. john wilfred sharp 18 Dec 2008, 2:32am

    sad that a elected representative of the people is discriminating against 10% of its people openly, what others grunges does he have? single woman , women the blind the disabled ? what next concentration/reeducation camps .
    to theradicalistrealist who was offended by the face on the picture what do you suggest we should do to people who have a face you do not like ? please show us your picture .idiot.

  17. Calm down, radicalrealist. Ease off the lynch-mob, people. I wouldn’t get too outraged at the backwardness of Greek Cypriots when our own parliament contains such shiny examples of tolerance as the saintly Anne Widdecombe (who was on the radio yet AGAIN this morning). While we have UKIP MEPs (that’s Member of the European Parliament, John!), we shouldn’t be lobbing stones at the Cypriots.

    And surely the man has a point: he is indeed entitled to his opinion, however backward it might be.

  18. Reading over these comments, I felt compelled to leave a comment of my own again.

    “Take Greece, Italy, and Cyprus out of the European context, let them fester in their own hate and bile.” – is that truly the answer? I’m saddened to think that this would even be suggested by anyone who has a collected understanding of discrimination in any form. Let the person be accountable, and not make sweeping statements about the countries.

  19. Reading over these comments, I felt compelled to write a comment of my own again.
    “Take Greece, Italy, and Cyprus out of the European context, let them fester in their own hate and bile.” – is that trully the answer?
    It saddens me that anyone with first hand knowledge and understanding of discrimination would even suggest such a thing. Hold an individual accountable; don’t make sweeping statements about countries.

  20. Cyprus needs to sort a lot out before it starts worrying about a gay family in picture… or maybe THATS’s why the country is such a hole, their politicians are spending too much time worrying about a gay family in a picture.

  21. Good call, Marion Oprel. Actually Matsakis has stated many times that he is not “anti gay”.On the contrary he supports an individuals rights to live their life as they wish. This is part of a feud between him and Michael Cashman, over Turkey because Matsakis cant understand Cashmans support for Turkey (where u would get linched for being gay)

  22. Mr. Matsikis should have another look at several declarations of Human Rights; he may have his doubts, but homosexuals are actually human beings, same as jews, left-handed people, muslims etcetera. If he’s as democratic as he seems to claim to be, he shouldn’t feel uncomfortable or even offended by a couple of pictures.

    Time to grow up, Marios!!

  23. Robert, ex-pat Brit 18 Dec 2008, 1:46pm

    Eleni, I’m well aware that he’s a Cypriot, but his religious beliefs derive from the Greek Orthodox church of which he is a member, is he not? The Greek Orthodox church is as bad as its Roman counterpart. That was the point I was making, not his nationality.

  24. The lynch mob seems to be ignoring my comments. Unfortunately it is nothing to do with Matsakis (or Cypriots 4 that matter) being anti gay – they are not. Its down to Matsakis showing up Cashman being two faced over his support for an intolerant Turkey. Sometimes things are not as they seem.

  25. gay super hero 18 Dec 2008, 9:04pm

    Incidentally, it is my view that children living with a homophobe like mr Matsakis are not getting the best environment for their upbringing. This is my personal opinion and I hope I’m still able to hold it.

    I strongly suspect that the homophobic lobby is planning to re-initiate a campaign to ban homosexual people from starting their own families.

  26. Thomas Xomeritis 18 Dec 2008, 9:42pm

    And comments such as Cindy’s or Terry Floyd Johnson’s do not help the situation. Sad isn’t it?

  27. Trevor – I’m not interested in whether or not he’s having a playground spat with Cashman. The point is, he’s in public office and he made an anti-gay remark.

  28. Matsakis has always supported gay rights, contrary to the way the article has been presented. He has a view on children-he does not say that this cant take place, only that he thinks its not the best environment. Thats a long way from homophobic. His complaint i think is that he is being bullied by a hippocrite (Cashman) who has a double standard when it comes to human rights. In the case of Cyprus, Cashman would deny the right of displaced Greek Cyriots to return to their property, whilst on the other hand he claims to uphold gay rights. Matsakis says that Cashman, of all people, should know better than to use this double standard and (allegedly)to encourage intolerance by the use of henchmen.

  29. Marion Oprel 22 Dec 2008, 12:06pm

    Gay rights campaigners hope to bring ‘offensive’ exhibition to Cyprus
    By Jean Christou, Sunday Mail, Dec. 21, 2008
    GAY rights proponents hope to bring the photo exhibition that offended Euro MP Marios Matsakis to Cyprus for a showing some time next year, they said yesterday.

    Matsakis ruffled feathers in Strasbourg last week when he asked not to be sent any more invitations to the exhibition of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender families in the European Parliament, titled “Different families, same love”.

    The Cypriot MEP said he found the photographs offensive and asked not to be sent any more.

    The emails had a poster attached depicting a mixed race male couple sitting on the grass, one with his arm over the shoulder of another, and a lesbian couple sitting with their two children.

    “The photos are not at all offensive,” said Cypriot gay rights activist Alecos Modinos, whose case to Europe in the 1990s brought an end to the criminalisation of homosexuality in Cyprus.

    “I am not myself extremely broad-minded but these are lovely pictures. What offended him was two women with their two children?” Modinos told the Sunday Mail yesterday.

    “There was no embracing or kissing involved.”

    Modinos made the point that Matsakis himself does not have a ‘regular’ family.

    “Sooner or later, Cyprus will have to deal with same-sex relationships. We are no longer ‘criminals’, but what’s the use if people are still suffering due to the ignorance of others,” Modinos said.

    He said research had shown that Cypriots were homophobic so it was important, he said, that ordinary people be enlightened about this issue.

    Modinos said the exhibition that offended Matsakis would be shown in all 27 EU member states over the next 12 months, and he would be looking for a place to hold the event

    Marion Oprel, one of the two women in the poster who posed with the couple’s two children aged nine, said she was surprised at Matsakis but that the controversy was a good opportunity to open discussion on same-sex couples in Cyprus.

    Oprel has a second home on the island and visits often.

    “I do understand that a picture of two women and two children is a strange sight for some people, but they need to get used to it,” she said.

    “The main thing for me is that a discussion is starting. It’s a good thing for Cyprus, or any other country to see things from a new angle. A picture says more than a thousand words.”

    Oprel questioned how anyone could be offended by a photo of a happy family.

    Of Matsakis, she said her children had expressed sympathy for his attitude, saying he had no idea how great it was to be raised by two women, and if someone was not “comfortable with love” perhaps they needed therapy.

    Modinos said several MEPs had also written to Matsakis.

    One email from MEP Britta Thomsen said: “Mr Matsakis I think it is a problem that you as an MEP are working against the fundamental human rights in the European Union… by expressing discriminatory views like this. I think people who wish to carry Europe back to the time before the age of enlightenment should express their views in mediaeval clubs and not bother me with that kind of ignorance.”

    The International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Association (ILGA) Europe said it regretted that Matsakis, and another MEP from Lithuania who had made disparaging comments, “Could not see the love and humanity shared by the families displayed in the exhibition and the message contained that human rights are for all.

    “We hope that these events will give another opportunity to reflect on the indivisibility of human rights,” it said.

    Matsakis has said he suspects there is a campaign against him as a result of his “emotional speech given four-five years ago in favour of the rights of children”.

    He said his party, the Liberals, played a determining factor in the vote against giving adoption rights to homosexuals.
    Copyright © Cyprus Mail 2008

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