Friday 01 July 2022

Senate removes same-sex marriage loophole, all officials must comply

The senate on Tuesday voted in favour of legislation which will stop town councils employing registrars who refuse to carry out gay marriages.

At the moment, civil servants are allowed to refuse to carry out same-sex marriages. The escape clause was included in the initial legislation as a gesture to areas where strict Protestants dominate. Same-sex marriages have been legal in the Netherlands since April 2001.

All but one Christian Democrat senator and the two minor orthodox religious parties CU and SGP voted against the motion, which was passed by the lower house last year. 

Escape clause

The change in the law will not affect registrars already doing the job but councils will be able to move them to other functions.

Gay rights lobby group COC welcomed the change in the legislation which, it said, ‘ends discrimination on the happiest day of your life”.

COC research last year showed some 58 local councils employ a total of around 100 registrars who refuse to marry same-sex couples. Nearly all are orthodox Christians.

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