Gay and Lesbian Humanist

Spring 1998

Netherlands: Gay Adoption Accepted but not Marriage

On Friday 6 February 1998, the Dutch Cabinet finally decided how it would act on the recommendations of the Kortmann Committee. This committee of legal experts included gay activist Kees Waaldijk, a longstanding member of GALHA. In October 1997, it recommended unanimously that same-sex couples be allowed to adopt children, and by a majority of five to three that they should be allowed full marriage rights on a par with heterosexual couples. Now the Cabinet has decided to prepare legislation to give effect to the adoption recommendation but not the marriage one.

Legislation was introduced in the Netherlands on 1 January 1998 granting same-sex couples the right to have their partnership registered and the Cabinet considers that this, together with the proposed right to adopt, offers virtually equal rights to these couples. It will certainly be an improvement on partnership legislation in the Scandinavian countries (Denmark, Norway and Sweden) which excludes the right for couples to adopt as well as have a legally binding church wedding. Church weddings in the Netherlands have no legal status.

There is a small chance that the Dutch parliament will ultimately insist on making full marriage possible for same-sex couples, but there is no time left during the present parliament to even start legislation. Elections will be held in May and it seems likely that some time later this year a bill will be introduced concerning the adoption proposals. However, with the customary slowness of the Dutch legislative machine, such a bill is unlikely to become law before 2000.

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Created : Sunday, 1999-09-05 / Last updated : Wednesday, 2007-12-12
Brett Humphreys :