Party seeks amendment in Dutch homosexual laws
Democrat D66 party is calling for changes to be made to laws which discriminate homosexuals as Amsterdam and politicians gear up for Gay Pride week.30 July 2008
AMSTERDAM - Amsterdam is gearing up for the high point of Gay Pride week this Saturday when lesbians, gays and their friends take part in a boat parade through the city's canals.
More politicians are jumping aboard for Canal Pride, with three more ministers announcing they intend to take part in the parade. Their boat will sail under the (English) motto 'Simply Gay'.
However, opposition MP Boris van der Ham, whose Democrat D66 party has had a boat in the gay parade for years, is trying to make it anything but plain sailing for the government. He welcomes the good intentions, but says there are "still Dutch laws which discriminate against homosexuals".
His party wants to amend the article in the constitution that outlaws discrimination by adding homosexuals to the list of those protected.
The Christian Democrat-led ruling coalition is also under fire for allowing civil servants to opt out of performing marriage ceremonies for same-sex couples.
For the second year in a row, a gay umbrella organisation is running a poster campaign during Gay Pride under the slogan: Believe in Love. The aim to make homosexuality a topic that can be talked about within religious families. The posters show obviously Christian, Islamic and Jewish families with their children and their same-sex partners.
The 2007 campaign was more overtly political, with posters showing men wearing football shirts having sex. This did not just allude to anti-gay sentiments within the game.
It also referred to the fact that Amsterdam Council had withdrawn permission for several gay street parties. The reason given was that there were not enough officers to police the events because of a match between Amsterdam's Ajax football team and the British side, Arsenal.
Finally, in what may not be just a coincidental move, the Dutch Trades Union Federation is launching a 'pink network' to fight against homophobia in the workplace.
A union spokesman illustrates the problem: "Teachers, for example, daren't be open about their sexuality because students are increasingly intolerant."
[Radio Netherlands / Expatica]