Antillean court rules in favour of same-sex couple
A Netherlands Antilles’ court has ruled that gay and lesbian couples enjoy the same rights and obligations as they do in the Netherlands.21 July 2008
NETHERLANDS ANTILLES - The Court of First Instance of the Netherlands Antilles has ruled that gay and lesbian couples have the same rights and obligations in the Netherlands Antilles and Aruba as they do in the Netherlands.
The court in Willemstad, on the island of Curaçao, added that all marriages entered into in the Kingdom of the Netherlands have identical legal weight and must be treated equally.
The islands of the Netherlands Antilles and Aruba are former Dutch colonies which now form part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Although they have a degree of autonomy in some areas, they are subject to Dutch law.
The case was brought by a woman who wanted to include her partner and one of her children in her health insurance policy. The government-run Office of Health Insurance (BZV) in Curaçao turned down her request.
The BZV took advice from the Ministry of Public Health and Social Development and claimed that the woman's partner and child were not part of her family since "a marriage of people of the same sex is not socially accepted."
The court has ordered the BZV to revise its standpoint within two weeks and to pay the couple all damages in the case. A civil court will decide the extent of the damages.
The woman's legal costs were paid by the Dutch Homo LesBian Federation (HLBF) which supports gay, lesbian and bisexual rights in the Netherlands, the Netherlands Antilles and Aruba.
Referring to a previous case in Aruba, HLBF chairman André van Wanrooij commented: "Once again the courts have ruled that there is no difference in law between same-sex and straight couples. We hope the governments of the Netherlands Antilles and Aruba will now accept this."
[Radio Netherlands / Expatica]