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Dutch Senate Approves LGBTQ+ Constitutional Protections

Dutch Senate Approves LGBTQ+ Constitutional Protections

The Binnenhof is home to both houses of the Dutch parliament
NATALI GLADO/SHUTTERSTOCK

The historic amendment passed overwhelmingly.

The Dutch Senate on Tuesday approved amending the Netherlands constitution to ban discrimination based upon a person’s sexual identity or disability, according to Reuters.

The constitution had already guaranteed equal treatment for all, but explicitly mentioned race, religion, and political beliefs and opinions as examples. That list now includes disability and sexual orientation.

The Eerste Kamer, the country’s senate, passed the resolution by a vote of 56-15, well above the required two-thirds threshold. The measure was earlier passed by the Tweede Kamers. The amendment now awaits the signature of King Willem-Alexander.

“You can rightly call this day historic!” a legislator for the D66 political party Alexander Hammelburg was quoted by NL Times after the vote.

“A disability, or who you fall in love with, should never be a reason to be excluded,” Habtamu de Hoop, a PvdA member of parliament.

The vote on Tuesday was the latest in a 12-year effort. Amending the constitution requires approval by both houses of the legislature twice. The first vote requires only a majority vote. The second vote takes place after the government is replaced and requires a two-thirds majority. The amendment now awaits the signatures of King Willem-Alexander and a minister from the government before it is printed in an official government register and becomes law.

The move was hailed by LGBTQ+ advocates. Astrid Oosenbrug, chair of the Dutch LGBTQ+ activist group COC Nederland, said LGBTQ+ rights “are no longer hidden” and can’t be taken away.

“And being enshrined in the Constitution is a guarantee that we will still be able to enjoy our hard-won rights in fifty or a hundred years’ time,” Oosenbrug said in a statement. “That we will still be able to marry, raise children, and be protected against discrimination. Even if the political or social winds unexpectedly shift against the rainbow community.”

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