International ridicule and condemnation have followed statements by the Greek Orthodox Church of Cyprus calling homosexuals pedophiles and labeling homosexuality an illness. American celebrities like Whoopie Goldberg and Oscar winning actress Olympia Dukakis were amongst those supporting the first-ever gay pride parade in Nicosia, the Cypriot capital, scheduled for May 31st.
Dukakis went on record condemning the church— and any human being for that matter— for even asking the question of whether or not another human being should have equal rights.
When asked on camera by Cypriot-native New York filmmaker Harry Mavromichalis if members of the Cyprus Lesbian and Gay community should have equal rights, she ridiculed the mere asking of the question.
“Even asking the question, ‘should they have rights?’, is offensive. Even asking that question, even thinking that another human being should have to ask for that. We have a short period of time here and to be deprived of anything out of what people consider religious principles is repugnant,” Dukakis said on camera.
Mavromichalis is in the midst of shooting a documentary about the acclaimed actress’ life and used it as an opportunity to discuss the news happening on his native island.
Another Oscar-winning actress and outspoken television personality, Whoopie Goldberg, also caused a stir with her comments. The video has gone viral on the island.
“Congratulations for coming out from under the rock,” she told Cypriot gay pride organizers, admonishing the Cypriot church leadership that “A church should know better, because if they are looking at God’s way, God never turns his back on anyone, she said in another video, created by Mavromichalis.
British actor and TV presenter Stephen Fry weighed in on the debate surrounding the island’s first ever gay pride parade, inviting the Church of Cyprus to “join the civilized, educated and loving world”.
Speaking exclusively to The Cyprus Daily, Fry – who is also an avid human rights activist – called on every person in Cyprus, regardless of their sexuality, to join the march in Nicosia on May 31.
“I invite the Church of Cyprus to join the civilised and educated and loving world, including Christian faiths such as the Quakers, the Unitarians and many in the Anglican communion and other sects to recognise the natural, unthreatening nature of homosexuality,” commented the 56-year-old English celebrity.
“It is a creation of nature, it does not attack families, their values or constitute a threat in any way to children,” he continued. “To suggest otherwise is knowingly to lie. I support and encourage all Cypriots of whatever sexuality to join in the Pride March to show their support for an open, free, tolerant and enlightened Cyprus.
“The world will be filled with admiration and respect. Otherwise they will simply laugh and conjoin you with other fundamentalist theocratic states situated somewhere in the cruel and barbaric Middle Ages. But the laugh will be tinged with sympathy and sorrow for those Cypriots denied their human rights.”
He ended his message with the words “Ζήτω η ελευθερία!” (Long live freedom!)