Officials lose jobs for refusing to wed gays
Three officials who carry out civil wedding ceremonies in Groningen will lose their positions because they refuse to marry homosexual couples. This was announced Thursday by the municipality of Groningen.
According to the Special Officers of the Civil Registry Babs, which oversees wedding procedures in the Netherlands, the three cannot be fired. Officials in Groningen have instead refused to renew their contracts, which are set to expire in 2014.
Municipalities have the right to decide whether their officials must officiate heterosexual and homosexual weddings. Groningen officals have been told to marry both for the past two years.
Roze Zaterdag Gay rights organisation COC turned the spotlight on the three last month during Pink Saturday Roze Zaterdag. Held in Groningen this year, the annual event aims to promote sexuality and diversity. Many gay and lesbian couples tie the knot during the festivities.
Green Left MP Ineke van Gent praised Groningen on her Twitter account, posting: “Good for Groningen! Now the rest of the country!”
Elbert Dikjgraaf, from the small, right-wing religious party SGP, expressed less enthusiasm. According to Dutch press bureau Novum Nieuws, he called the COC’s actions “annoying.”
© Radio Netherlands Worldwide