Tuesday 25 February 2020

Dutch gay marriage rights restricted to locals, wedding tourism ruled out

Photo: Depositphotos.com

Photo: Depositphotos.com

Gay couples from outside the Netherlands who wish to take advantage of liberal Dutch marriage laws cannot come here just to get married, ministers said on Wednesday.

Opening up the right to get married to gay foreigners without residency rights will lead to ‘practical and legal problems’, justice minister Ard van der Steur and foreign minister Bert Koenders said in answer to MPs questions.

The Liberal democratic party D66 had asked the ministers to look into allowing non-resident foreigners to take advantage of Dutch gay marriage laws. The Netherlands became the first country in the world to legalise gay marriage 15 years ago.

The move would make a major contribution to the emancipation of gay couples, the party says.

However, the ministers said ‘this would not be the most effective way of emancipating LHBTs worldwide’. While there are no laws or treaties that would rule it out, such weddings are resisted in many parts of the world and could even be dangerous to the participants, the ministers said.

Homosexuality remains a criminal offence in at least 75 countries. In addition, gay activists do not consider the right to marry in the Netherlands a priority, given only a few people would be able to make use of the option, the ministers said.

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