At the forefront of the world, the Netherlands led the legalization of same-sex marriage two decades ago, with some 20,000 homosexual couples registered today, although, twenty years later, it is far from being a leader in the commitment and protection of LGBTI people.

On April 1, 2001, the Netherlands became the first country in the world to legalize homosexual marriage, although it was in 1995 when the Dutch Executive commissioned an independent commission to study the introduction of this possibility in the civil code so that three Years later, a law came into force that recognizes registered domestic partners, which was a legal alternative to “marriage” for homosexuals.

Today, more than 19,000 men and almost 21,000 women are united in marriage with a same-sex couple in the country, a figure to celebrate for the gay rights group COC, which asks to take advantage of the twentieth anniversary so that “The Netherlands go back to the world’s leading group when it comes to equal rights and acceptance”, a message that this group points to as a pending task for the future Dutch government.

“As the first country to legalize same-sex marriage in 2001, we made world history. It would be great if we rediscovered that pioneering spirit and are once again at the forefront of the world! I can’t imagine a better gift for our twenty-year marriage and the 75th anniversary of COC,” said its president, Astrid Oosenbrug.

The Netherlands is in thirteenth place in Europe in the Rainbow Europe index, the list of countries where LGBTI rights are well regulated, and is behind countries such as Malta, Belgium and Luxembourg, although it is in second place in terms of acceptance by the population, only surpassed by Iceland.

“Many LGBTI people face violence for who they are and recently it became clear again that there are schools in the Netherlands that actively reject these people,” lamented COC in a statement, referring to the controversial rejection of Calvinist schools to the children of parents who do not sign a document rejecting homosexuality.

After more than a century, the Netherlands is now questioning the constitutional power of religious schools to reject students based on their family’s “life philosophy”, after Education Minister Arie Slob had to recant after defending Calvinist schools that require parents to deny homosexuality in writing.

Since 1917, article 23 of the Dutch Constitution states that “everyone shall be free to provide education, without prejudice to the right of supervision of the authorities”, an argument that Calvinist or Islamic schools use to reject students if the “philosophy of life” of their parents does not support the religious education they offer.

This is one of the examples that keeps the country far from leading the lists and that is why Oosenbrug asks to work on regulations that allow “to return to first place”:

“I want a country where everyone feels free to be themselves, schools where diversity let it be the norm and streets where everyone feels safe, regardless of their sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, skin color and gender ”, he stressed.

COC has put on the table a Rainbow Agreement that asks to implement the Executive that leaves the negotiations for the formation of the next government, and requires it to promise concrete measures on the acceptance of LGBTI people in schools, the promotion of legal transition rights for transgender people, the prohibition of “cures for homosexuality” and the imposition of legal sanctions for violence against LGBTI people.

In addition, it defends a multiple parenting law, that a child has more than two legal parents, also known as multiple parenting.

“Some children grow up with three or four parents, while the law says there can only be two. The child has the right that all his real parents can also legally take care of him,” said Sara Coster, from the Meer Dan Gewenst platform for LGTBI people who want to be parents.

This organization estimates that there are hundreds of families with multiple parents in the Netherlands.

Boosting the position of the Netherlands in the indices includes, for COC, above all the permanent anchoring of LGBTI rights in the Constitution, adding to its article 1 the prohibition of discrimination also against LGBTI rights, something that the Dutch Parliament has already endorsed, in the absence of the approval of the Senate and its introduction in the supreme norm.

Categorized in: