By Hilary White

AMSTERDAM, December 7, 2007 ( – The Netherlands has led the world in the introduction of the homosexual political movement. Now it is going to be leading the way to cracking down on dissent from the officially “tolerant” position on homosexuality, particularly among those Dutch citizens who “follow a more orthodox religious lifestyle”.

The coalition government has agreed to earmark 2.5 million euros from 2008 to 2011 to promote homosexuality as normal in social areas. The government said that the money will be spent on programmes specifically targeting young Muslims in schools, sport clubs or neighbourhood associations.

Ronald Plasterk, minister of education admitted that Dutch homosexuals enjoy the same rights as everyone else, “socially the acceptance is not automatic among certain ethnic minorities or people who follow a more orthodox religious lifestyle.”

The Netherlands was the first country in the world to institute same-sex “marriage” and allow homosexual partners to adopt children.

The policy will extend, in as-yet undisclosed programmes, to Dutch foreign aid donations. Development Cooperation Minister Bert Koenders told Parliament, “The Netherlands will promote equal rights for gays as much as possible. We will not avoid awkward discussions about this.”

The government told its ambassadors to developing countries to increase pressure on those nations to decriminalize homosexuality.

But it is not merely “religiously orthodox” people who retain at least subconscious objections to public displays of homosexuality. Gay activist Frank van Dalen, president of the Dutch national homosexual lobbyists, Federation of Dutch Associations for Integration of Homosexuality (COC), complained that a recent poll showed that 48 per cent of the population is shocked by two men kissing and the number goes up to 75 per cent of recent immigrants.

Dutch homosexual activists are powerful at the European Union where pressure is mounting on Poland to adopt the Charter of Fundamental Rights that is seen as a crucial instrument in installing the full programme of gay activism. The EU gay activist group ILGA-Europe praised the increase of pressure to normalize homosexuality by the EU Commission on candidate countries such as Turkey and Serbia.

An ILGA-Europe spokesman said the group “appreciates” such efforts and praised the “clearly positive development in the progress reports as the human rights of LGBT people are explicitly mentioned in a larger number of the eight reports than last year.”