Problems with the Netherlands

The supporters of the same-sex ‘marriage’ bill have brought in a former Dutch MP to talk about the Netherlands and tell us how good it is – and the NZ Herald have (hilariously) found a way to include it in their week-long series on Education and Jobs! Yeah – go figure!

The problem is…… well, actually, there’s a number of problems

Little demand
In Netherlands where same-sex marriage has been legal since 2001, studies have shown that only around 4 per cent of Dutch homosexuals have gotten married during the first five years of legalisation.1

Instability of relationships
Recent research from a major British medical journal AIDS on male same-sex relationships in the Netherlands — arguably one of the most gay friendly cultures on earth — indicates gay men have a very difficult time living by the values of marriage. This study found that steady homosexual relationships in the very gay-friendly city of Amsterdam, on average, last only 1.5 years. The study also found that gay men in steady relationships there have an average of eight partners a year outside of their current relationships.2

No difference to mental health
Recent studies conducted in New Zealand and the Netherlands indicate that there is a high correlation between homosexual behavior and mental illness.3 The authors of a study published in the Archives of General Psychiatry stated “the Dutch social climate toward homosexuality has long been and remains considerably more tolerant” than other countries. So it seems unlikely that “social disapproval” is responsible for the high incidence of mental illness and destructive behaviour reported by the Dutch researchers.

Interestingly enough, that is backed up by the former Dutch MP who said to the NZ Herald “that legalising gay marriage had not been a silver bullet for ridding the country of discrimination on the grounds of sexuality. Anti-homosexual attitudes had prevailed, and the law change had not made a tangible difference to the disproportionately high suicide rate among homosexual teens.” (which is exactly what we say in our Submission to the Select Committee).

Different structure to NZ
Religious marriages are not recognised in the Netherlands. Marriages officiated by religious representatives lack legal effect and religious weddings prior to the conclusion of a civil legal marriage are forbidden.4

Losing right to religious exemption
72% of municipalities which oversee the marriage celebrants hire them only on the condition that they are willing to perform same sex marriages – even if there are other marriage celebrants available who don’t object. Some celebrants have not had their contract renewed if they object to same-sex marriages.4

Members of parliament have requested that the government formally end the practice of accommodating objecting officials.5 The consequences of the holding of the European Court in Schalk that marriage rules, in countries where marriage is available to same-sex couples, need to be applied without unjustified discrimination, seem at least to rule out current local practices of indicating the (un)willingness of marriage officials regarding the performance of same-sex marriage.

Same-sex adoption
Married same-sex couples don’t have the same parental rights as different-sex married couples. Same-sex married couples can’t adopt children internationally, and a non-biological lesbian parent only gets “parental authority” for a child born to her female spouse, not automatic parental rights.6

1. Maggie Gallagher and Joshua K. Baker, “Demand for same-sex marriage: Evidence from the United States, Canada, and Europe.” Institute for Marriage and Public Policy, vol. 3, no. 1, April 26, 2006, p.
2. Maria Xiridou, et al., “The Contributions of Steady and Casual Partnerships to the Incidence of HIV Infection Among Homosexual Men in Amsterdam,” AIDS, 17 (2003): 1029.38.
3. Fergusson, D.M.; Horwood, L.J.; Beautrais, A.L. “Is sexual orientation related to mental health problems and suicidality in young people?” Arch. Gen. Psychiatry,. 56, (1999), 876- 880. Herrell, R.; Goldberg, J.; True,W.R.; Ramakrishnan, V.; Lyons, M.; Eisen,S.; Tsuang, M.T. “Sexual orientation and suicidality: a co-twin control study in adult men. Arch. Gen. Psychiatry 56, (1999) 867-874. Sandfort, T.G.M.; de Graaf, R.; Bijl, R.V.; Schnabel “Same-sex sexual behavior and psychiatric disorders,” Arch. Gen. Psychiatry. 58, (2001): 85-91.
4. Bruce MacDougall, et all., “Conscientious Objection to Creating Same-Sex Unions: An International Analysis” Canadian Journal of Human Rights (2012)
5. 118 Netherlands, Tweede Kamer, Kamerstukken II, Vergaderjaar 2010-2011, 27017 Homo-emancipatiebeleid [Homosexual Emancipation], No 77 “Motie van het lid Van Gent cs” [Motion of Member of Parliament Van Gent cs] (23 June 2011). Currently, the majority of Dutch Parliament opposes the practice of accommodation. The debate is expected to take place in the fall of 2011. See JP Loof, “CGB sluit deur voor gewetensbezwaarde trouwambtenaren” [CGB Closes the Door for Marriage Oficials with Conscientious Objections] (2008) 33:6 NJCM Bulletin 791 at 799.

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