By Gudrun Schultz
AMSTERDAM, The Netherlands, April 18, 2007 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The Caribbean island state of Aruba must recognize same-sex marriages performed in the Netherlands, the Dutch Supreme Court ruled April 13, forcing legal recognition of homosexual marriages in the Netherlands Antilles and Aruba, as well as the Netherlands proper.
The case went to the Supreme Court after a municipal official for the civil marriage register in Aruba refused to enter a lesbian couple in the register in 2001, Expatica reported April 13. The Dutch women, Charlene and Esther Oduber-Lamers,
took the case to court, winning first in the lower court and then in the appeals court.
The government of Aruba appealed the case a second time to the Supreme Court, with the support of much of the population—Aruba is 80% Roman Catholic.
“If we accept gay marriage, would we next have to accept Holland’s marijuana bars and euthanasia?” said government spokesman Ruben Trapenberg in 2005. “They have their culture, we have ours.”
“We can’t let this become a precedent,” said Hendrik Croes, a lawyer for Aruba’s government. “Gay marriage is against the civil code and Aruban morals.”
In the decision released last week, the Court found that any legal union recognized in the Netherlands must be considered valid anywhere in the kingdom. “The couple can insist that they be registered as married in the municipal registry,” the court stated in the ruling, published on the Internet.
Despite having its own constitution as an independent Member State within the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Aruba comes under the jurisdiction of the Dutch Supreme Court and was denied the freedom to determine whether or not to recognize homosexual marriages within its territory.
The decision makes Aruba a reluctant leader in Caribbean recognition of same-sex marriages, and will force the islands of the Dutch Antilles to accept homosexual unions as well, including Curacao, Bonaire, Saba and Saint Martin.
The Netherlands legalized homosexual marriages in 2001.
See related LifeSiteNews coverage:
Gay “Marriage” Rejected in Former Dutch Caribbean Colony
‘Gay marriage’ and homosexuality