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Wednesday, October 7, 2015 - 09:19
Senate passes child brides law, restrict cousin marriage
Members of the Eerste Kamer, the Dutch Senate, passed an amended law to further regulate the recognition of marriages that occur outside the Netherlands. It states the government will no longer approve marital status to international weddings if one of the partners is under 18. The vote, originally scheduled for a November 24 vote in the upper house, took place on Tuesday after reports surfaced about child brides heading to the Netherlands as part of the migration crisis. The new law also aims to limit acceptance of marriages between first cousins. Under the previous law, the Netherlands recognized foreign marriages with a minimum age of 15 as long as the marriage was legal in the jurisdiction where it took place. One of the few restrictions to Dutch recognition was if the marriage occurred under extreme duress. Sexual relations between adults and children under the age of sixteen is punishable by law in the Netherlands, even if the relations are consensual. Sex with minors between the ages of sixteen and eighteen is also punishable under Dutch law specific circumstances. Currently the Netherlands is accepting of marriages to minors of ages fifteen and older that were legally concluded in their countries of origin. If the Senate had not voted on the bill before the originally scheduled date, it would not have taken effect before 2016.