Harassed gay couples file law suits
Two gay couples who were pestered out of their homes have filed law suits to force the authorities to prosecute those responsible after all. One of the two couples last year saw no alternative but to move from their home in the central city of Utrecht. The other couple lives in a village near the south-eastern town of Sittard, and has put their house up for sale.
The two men from Utrecht have also instituted civil proceedings in an attempt to force the city council, the police and the state to pay damages. Their lawyer says the couples sustained at least 40,000 euros' worth of damage to their property. Their car was scratched, they had bricks thrown through their windows and the couple was eventually forced to sell their home far below market value.
The incidents in Utrecht occurred between the summer of 2009 and the summer of 2010. The police did arrest suspects, but all cases were dismissed. The couple from Sittard also filed multiple reports without any tangible result.
The Utrecht case in particular attracted national attention because it was not an isolated incident. The city council eventually passed a motion ordering the city executive to crack down on discrimination and harassment against homosexuals.
A spokesperson for Utrecht Mayor Aleid Wolfsen declined to comment on the damage claims. The council argues that the complaints of the gay couple were always taken "very seriously", but were not always dealt with effectively. "We have already conceded that quicker action could have been taken and that the police, the council and the housing corporations could have collaborated more closely, which is now the case.
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