Thursday 25 February 2021

Senate backs constitutional ban on LGBT and disability discrimination

Photo: Depositphotos.com

The Senate has overwhelmingly backed changing the Dutch constitution to ban discrimination on grounds of disability or sexual orientation.

The upper house voted 58-15 to extend Article 1 of the constitution, which explicitly forbids discrimination on grounds of religion, conscience, political affiliation, race or sex. The measure, proposed by the D66, Labour (PvdA) and GroenLinks, had already been approved by the lower house.

The only parties to vote against were the orthodox Protestant SGP, Geert Wilders’s PVV and Bob van Pareren, a former Forum voor Democratie senator now affiliated with breakaway group JA21. Wilders wants to abolish Article 1 altogether because it protects the rights of Muslims in areas such as education.

Because it involves a constitutional change, after the elections in March, the plan must be approved again by a two-thirds majority of both houses before it becomes law.

The LGBT organisation COC welcomed the decision as a victory for equal rights. Chair Astrid Oosenbrug said she saw it as ‘a mandate to ensure that the government deals with issues such as violence against LHBT people.’

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