Understanding in Senate for BES islands resistance

THE HAGUE--The Christian Democratic Party CDA in the First Chamber has shown understanding for the resistance on the BES islands Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba against the unilateral decision of the Netherlands to impose legal regulations regarding same-sex marriages, abortion and euthanasia.

CDA Senators indicated in their written reaction to the first package of BES laws that they were "shocked by the three submitted and approved amendments in the Second Chamber that declare Dutch legislation in the area of euthanasia, ending of pregnancy and marriage between two persons of the same sex applicable to the BES islands."

Member of the First Chamber's Permanent Committee of Antillean and Aruban Affairs NAAZ Huub Doek (CDA) called it "incomprehensible" that the Second Chamber had handled the matter in this "unexpected way, without consulting with the involved island territories."

According to CDA, the Second Chamber's decision "breached the utmost carefulness of the Dutch Government and its negotiating partners Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba in a flagrant way." The criticism is unusual for the First Chamber.

"All three subjects, as important as they are, have materialised in the Netherlands after many decennia of forming opinions, legal procedures and long careful legislation processes. Besides, there is a totally different perception of these sensitive issues in Northwest Europe than in Central and South America," the CDA faction stated.

The issue is not a reason for CDA to vote against the involved BES law, but the party requested that the Dutch Government execute this law in a prudent manner and in consultation with the BES islands.

The CDA faction in the Second Chamber supported the amendment to introduce same-sex marriages within two years, but voted against the amendments to legalise abortion and euthanasia.

The liberal democratic VVD party in the Senate also referred to the issue of same-sex marriages, euthanasia and abortion in its written response to the BES laws. The party showed comprehension for the transition period to introduce this legislation.

VVD Senator Frank van Kappen questioned how the introduction of the legislation regarding same-sex marriages, euthanasia and abortion would relate to legislation in countries Aruba, Curaçao and St. Maarten. He wondered whether a marriage conducted between two persons of the same sex on the BES islands would be acknowledged in these countries.

The Island Council of St. Eustatius unanimously carried on Monday a motion denouncing the unilateral decision of the Netherlands to implement same-sex marriages and to legalise abortion and euthanasia after the BES islands had become part of the Dutch Constellation as so-called public entities.

20 April 2010

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