The coalition government of progressive social democrats and reactionary confessionals (Christian Democrats, Labour and ChristenUnie) is only a few weeks old, but already cracks are starting to appear in this unholy alliance…

The refusal of former colonial Caribbean island Bonaire to carry out gay marriages when it becomes a ‘special’ Dutch local council (weird but true) in 2008 has exposed tensions in the government and the opposition parties smell blood.
The left-wing education minister Ronald Plasterk believes councils should force their civil servants to marry gay couples. This flies in the face of the Christian Democrat and Christian Union ministers who believe civil servants should be allowed the right of refusal.
A compromise was reached in the coalition agreement: civil servants could refuse to carry out gay marriages providing there were others who would do it. But in Bonaire there are apparently no civil servants prepared to wed homosexuals and lesbians.
The rumblings in the macho Caribbean will eventually be silenced. But the fundamental differences in moral views promise more profound clashes. Plasterk is for more emancipation while the minister for family, André Rouvoet, believes in less. This can only lead to more impossible compromises that will shatter under the slightest tension.
The three coalition parties are united in their goal to create a more caring society. The problem is that for two of them the letter ‘c’ in caring stands for Christian.

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