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22/06/2009Antillean court rejects Dutch law in gay case
A judge in the Netherlands Antilles has ruled that same-sex marriage does not have to offer the same benefits and legal rights as marriage between a man and a woman
The verdict by the Joint Court of Justice of the Netherlands Antilles and Aruba overturned an earlier court ruling last year which said the wife of a female civil servant should be eligible for insurance coverage. In the case of married heterosexual civil servants, partners are automatically insured.
Antillean Education and Public Health Minister Omayra Leeflang reacted positively to the Court of Justice's decision. She said that if the Court of Justice had upheld the earlier ruling in favour of the same-sex couple, it would mean that Dutch law takes precedence over Antillean law. This, in turn, would undermine the autonomous status of the Netherlands Antilles.
The case has attracted considerable media attention and has turned into a double-loaded affair - on one hand for gay rights activists fighting for equality and, on the other, for Antilleans who saw it as a challenge to their democracy.
The five islands of the Netherlands Antilles, together with Aruba, are still part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. They were due to be dissolved as a unified political entity in December 2008 and were to attain a new constitutional status within the kingdom. However, the proposed constitutional changes have been deferred.
Radio Netherlands / Expatica
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