Rutte guarantees same-sex marriage across Netherlands

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Prime Minister Mark Rutte says he guarantees that same-sex couples will be able to tie the knot in all Dutch municipalities.

He made his statement following Friday’s cabinet meeting. However, he added that the issue of registrars who refuse to marry same-sex couples because of their religious persuasions was ‘extremely complicated’.

Mr Rutte said the cabinet has asked the Council of State, the highest administrative court and highest government advisory body, for advice.

The prime minister’s comments were prompted by Wednesday’s dismissal of a The Hague registrar who was sacked after the told national newspaper Trouw in an interview that he had strong moral objections against marrying gay and a lesbian couples.

The registrar in question is Wim Pijl, a former councillor for the Christian Union. The interview with Trouw prompted a meeting with council officials in which Mr Pijl refused to retract his statements. As a result, the council informed him that his services were no longer required. Mr Pijl says he intends to fight his dismissal in court.

The Hague council recently presented an emancipation policy document in which it rejects the cabinet viewpoint that registrars should be allowed to refuse marrying same-sex couples on religious grounds.

The Hague council explicitly asks new registrars whether they have a problem with marrying same-sex couples. Registrars already employed by the city are assumed to be aware its policies on the issue. The council says Mr Pijl’s statements in the interview with Trouw made it clear he had no intention of complying.

The Netherlands was the first country to extend marriage laws to include same-sex couples on April 1, 2001.

© Radio Netherlands Worldwide

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