LGBT rights in the Netherlands
|LGBT rights in the Netherlands|
|Same-sex sexual activity legal?||Legal since 1811|
|Gender identity/expression||Transsexual persons allowed to change legal gender, but only under certain conditions|
|Military service||Gays and lesbians allowed to serve openly|
|Discrimination protections||Sexual orientation protections (see below)|
|Same-sex marriage since 2001|
|Adoption||Same-sex couples may jointly adopt|
Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) rights in the Netherlands have been as some of the most progressive in Europe and worldwide. Same-sex sexual activity was legalized in 1811 after France invaded the country and installed the Napoleonic Code, erasing any remaining sodomy laws and no more were enacted after the country received independence. During the late 20th century, awareness surrounding homosexuality grew and society became more tolerant of homosexuals, eventually leading to its declassification as a mental illness in 1973 and ban on discrimination based on sexual orientation in the military. The Equal Rights Law was enacted in 1993, which bans discrimination on sexual orientation on the grounds of employment, housing, public accommodations, and more. After the country began granting same-sex couples domestic partnerships benefits in 1998, the Netherlands became the first country in the world to legalize same-sex marriage in 2001. Same-sex joint and step adoption are also permitted. Lesbian couples can get access to IVF as well. Although transsexuals are allowed to change their legal gender, discrimination protections on the grounds of gender identity or expression have not been explicitly enacted countrywide yet.
The Netherlands has become one of the most socially liberal countries in the world, with recent polls indicating that more 90% of ethnic Dutch people view homosexuality as moral, despite only 30% and 25% of Turks and Moroccans agreeing, respectively. Hindus of Indian origin are reportedly in line with ethnic Dutch in terms of acceptance. Most opposition and violence against LGBT citizens stem from the Christian and Muslim communities, which make up less than a quarter of the country's population. Amsterdam has frequently been named one of the most LGBT friendly cities in the world, infamous for its many accommodations specifically pertaining to the LGBT community, including its many gay bars, bathhouses, hotels, and venues as well as Pink Point, which provides LGBT friendly information and souvenirs, and the national Homomonument, which was completed in 1987 and was the first monument in the world to commemorate the homosexuals that were prosecuted and killed during World War II. Since then, The Hague got an international Homomonument and Utrecht got a Sodomonument, to commemorate the victims of a (rare) raid on "sodomites" in Dutch history that started in Utrecht. The LGBT community has been said to be most visible in Rembrandtplein in central Amsterdam.
Law regarding same-sex sexual activity
Between 1730 and 1811, sodomy was considered a capital crime by the Dutch Republic, resulting in widespread panic throughout the Netherlands and the persecution of hundreds of homosexuals. After the French invaded and installed the Napoleonic Code in 1811, all laws against same-sex sexual activity between consenting in adults in private were repealed. After the Dutch received independence in 1813, no new sodomy laws were enacted. The Christian based political parties enacted Article 248bis of the Penal Code in 1911, which raised the age of consent for same-sex sexual activity to 21 whilst the age of consent remained for heterosexual activity remained at 16. Laws citing public indecency were also often used against homosexuals.
During the mid-20th century, Dutch psychiatrists and clergy began viewing homosexuality less critically and in 1973, homosexuality was no longer treated as a mental illness. Article 248bis was repealed in 1971 and the age of consent for same-sex sexual activity was equalized.
Recognition of same-sex relationships
The Dutch parliament began granting same-sex couples domestic partnerships benefits on January 1, 1998 as an alternative for marriage, which were also allowed for opposite-sex couples. The Netherlands became the first country in the world to legalize same-sex marriage in 2001, with the law coming into effect on April 1. During that day, Job Cohen, the Mayor of Amsterdam, married four same-sex couples after becoming a registrar specifically to officiate weddings. The bill had passed the House of Representatives by 109 votes against 33. Although same-sex marriages can be performed in the European territory of the Netherlands and the Caribbean Netherlands territory including Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba, same-sex marriages performed in Aruba, Curaçao and Sint Maarten, which are constituent countries of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, are not officially valid. As a result of article 40 of the Charter for the Kingdom of the Netherlands, same-sex marriages performed anywhere else in the Kingdom must be recognized in all territories, however, they are not authorized to guarantee equal treatment of same-sex couples with valid marriage licenses.
According to a recent poll conducted in May 2013, Ifop indicated that 85% of the Dutch population supported same-sex marriage and adoption. A European Union member poll conducted in 2006 indicated that 82% of the Netherlands supported same-sex marriage, which was the highest amount of support during that time. In the Caribbean territories of the Kingdom, the citizens are mostly Roman Catholics, resulting in larger opposition of same-sex marriage in comparison to the European territories.
The Dutch parliament enacted the Equal Rights Act in 1993, which bans discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation in employment, housing, and both public and private accommodations. According to a leaked report in 2005, religious schools financed by the government are still allowed to terminate teachers judging by their behaviors outside of the facility that goes against the ethos of the school including homosexuality, resulting in the termination of a teacher in 2005 for being in a same-sex relationship.
Adoption and parenting
Same-sex adoption was legalized alongside same-sex marriage in 2001, which includes joint and step adoption, however, same-sex couples are not granted automatic parentage beforehand. A law granting this is currently pending. The Dutch parliament also began allowing same-sex couples to adopt children overseas in 2005. Lesbian couples can get access to IVF treatment as well.
The Netherlands has frequently been referred to as one of the most gay friendly countries in the world, with the Dutch being well known for their tolerance of diversity including the LGBT community. Amsterdam has frequently been referred to as one of the most gay friendly cities in the world by publications. The annual gay pride festival has been held in Amsterdam every year since 1996, which is attended by the Mayor of Amsterdam and the Dutch Red Cross Society, who promotes AIDS and HIV education.
|Homosexual acts legal||(since 1811)|
|Homosexuality declassified as an illness||(since 1973)|
|Equal age of consent|
|Anti-discrimination laws in employment||(since 1983)|
|Anti-discrimination laws in the provision of goods and services|
|Anti-discrimination laws in all other areas (incl. indirect discrimination, hate speech)|
|Same-sex marriage(s)||(since 1 April 2001, first country in the world to legalise)|
|Recognition of same-sex couples|
|Both joint and step adoption by same-sex couples|
|Gays allowed to serve in the military|
|Right to change legal gender|
|Commercial surrogacy||(banned for heterosexual couples as well)|
|Access to IVF for lesbians|
|MSM allowed to donate blood|
|Automatic parenthood for both spouses after birth||Law pending|
- Same-sex marriage in the Netherlands
- Same-sex marriage in Aruba
- LGBT rights in Europe
- LGBT rights by country or territory
- "Amsterdam Gay Pride". Amsterdamgaypride.nl. Retrieved 2011-01-09.