Netherlands: Same-sex wedding ‘opt out’ for officials removed

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a white background.

A loophole which allowed officials to opt out of performing same-sex weddings in the Netherlands will be removed.

The Senate voted today to pass a bill which removed the opt-out, which has been present since same-sex marriage was legalised in the country in 2001.

It allowed civil servants to legally discriminate against same-sex couples getting married on the grounds of religion.

Gay rights group COC said the change would “end discrimination on the happiest day of your life”.

According to DutchNews, research by the group last year showed that across the country, there are a total of around 100 registrars who opt out of marrying same-sex couples, employed by 58 councils.

Minor religious parties CU and SGP voted against the motion, along with ten Christian Democrats, but it passed regardless.

The Netherlands was the first country in the world to introduce same-sex marriage in 2001.

Last year, the Dutch Justice Ministry commissioned a report on the possibility of legally recognising families with three or more parents.

Green MP Liesbeth van Tongeren said current law “does not represent the diversity of families in the Netherlands.”

She added: “Often enough, the father of a child with lesbian parents also plays a role in the life of the child.”