Aruba Must Recognize Same-sex Marriages From Netherlands

According to a recent court ruling in the Netherlands Antilles (Court of First Instance, 17 July 2008), a same-sex couple that was married in the Netherlands and subsequently moved to the Netherlands Antilles (Curacao), has the same rights under Netherlands Antilles law (or Aruban law as the case may be) as Netherlands Antilles opposite-married couples as far as health insurance is concerned. Dr. Douwe Boersema of Spigthoff Attorneys & Tax Advisers on Curacao represented the couple.

Same-sex couples have been able to marry in the Netherlands for the last seven years. However, Aruba and the Netherlands Antilles have not changed their legislation which still does not allow such marriages. Moreover, the government of the Netherlands Antilles, and that of Aruba, refuse to treat same-sex couples who married in the Netherlands equally with opposite-married couples. However, according to the law, Dutch same-sex couples are entitled to all lawful rights in the Netherlands Antilles or Aruba pertaining to their marital status.

The Supreme Court of the Netherlands, the Netherlands Antilles and Aruba ruled on 13 April 2007 that Aruba must recognize same-sex marriages registered in the Netherlands. Although same-sex marriages cannot be performed in Aruba or the Netherlands Antilles, both countries are forced to at least recognize same-sex marriages performed in the Netherlands. The rulings of the Supreme Court in The Hague and of the Court of First Instance on Curacao are based on the Charter of the Kingdom of the Netherlands (’Statuut‘): legal provisions in force in one part of the Kingdom have the same legal force in the other two parts of the Kingdom. The matter that the Netherlands Antilles and Aruba do not have a same-sex marriage law or that it goes against Netherlands Antilles’ or Aruba’s ‘way of life’, is irrelevant to the issue.

Generally speaking, in my opinion, and as a matter of principle, governments should not interfere with their citizens’ private lives unless it is necessary to do so to protect their basic rights and freedom of choice. People should be as free as possible to make their own choices. Also, discrimination based on sexual orientation is illegal, period.

Karel Frielink (married tradionally in Las Vegas on 15 April 2006)
Attorney (lawyer) / Partner

Source – Karel’s Legal Blog