Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Netherlands Marriage Equality Update

The way this is reported, it sounds like The Netherlands, known for progress in relationship rights equality, could be making a potential step backwards, although a minor one.

Marriages between cousins remain permitted in the Netherlands. Such marriages will be invalid only if they are forced, the cabinet decided Friday.

The cabinet plans to restrict marriage between cousins because it says often they are forced. However if there is no demonstrable element of force, the marriage can go ahead, the cabinet said on Friday.

Adults should be treated equally. No marriage should be forced, whether consanguineous or otherwise.

Marriages involving minors will be invalid. Marriages which took place abroad are currently recognized in the Netherlands. In the future, only if both partners have reached the age of 18 will these marriages be legal.

Age of consent laws are not the focus of this blog, other than that age of consent should be applied equally regarding marriage... if someone is at the age of consent in a jurisdiction, they should be free to consent regardless of sexual orientation. There are US states where, for example, a 17-year-old may legally marry, and it is disappointing that the Netherlands would not recognize such a marriage.

There will be limitations on polygamous marriage, whereby one man has several wives.

That's polygyny, just one form of polygamy. Polygamy can be three or more people of one gender or any combination of genders.

If a polygamous marriage that took place abroad is recognized in the Netherlands only the 'chief wife' is entitled to an automatic residence permit.

Families should not be split up by outsiders.

The Netherlands (and any other country) should take whatever reasonable steps to make sure no marriage is forced, while also adopting full marriage equality so that an adult is free to share love, sex, residence, and marriage with any consenting adults, without discrimination.
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