Dutch cabinet dodges gay wedding controversy

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The Dutch government has postponed a decision on whether to allow municipalities to employ registrars who refuse to marry same-sex couples on religious grounds.

Interior Minister Piet Hein Donner and Emancipation Minister Marja van Bijsterveldt, both of them Christian Democrats, recently proposed to allow municipalities to do so on condition they ensured other another civil servant did perform homosexual wedding ceremonies. The ministers argue the municipalities should decide the matter for themselves.

The emancipation minister told MPs last summer that registrars should be allowed to refuse to perform homosexual wedding ceremonies. The interior minister too has said municipalities are free to employ public officials who have conscientious objections against civil marriage between gays.

In 2008 the Dutch Equal Treatment Commission ruled that municipalities have the right to bar civil servants who are not willing to perform homosexual wedding ceremonies.

Same-sex lobby group COC described today’s decision as “extremely disappointing”. In a statement, it said it “is outrageous that ten years after civil marriage for same-sex couples was made a legal option civil servants can still be allowed to refuse to carry out the law.” cl

© Radio Netherlands Worldwide

© Radio Netherlands Worldwide

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