Dutch MP's: Specifically protect LGBT's and disabled people in constitution

Rainbow flag in a pride parade
Rainbow flag in a pride parade. (Photo: Frankie Fouganthin / Wikimedia Common)

The PvdA, D66 and GroenLinks want to change Article 1 of the Dutch constitution - which deals with equality - to specifically mention disability and sexual orientation. In this way people with disabilities and the LGBT community will be specifically protected by the constitution. A parliamentary majority supports this proposal, NU.nl reports.

"Tolerance and acceptance does not come naturally and are not necessarily permanent", D66 parliamentarian Vera Bergkamp said about their proposal. PvdA MP Manon Fokke called it an important signal. "Gay and disabled people do not stand alone." According to GroenLinks MP Liesbeth van Tongeren, LGBT people and people with disablities all know that equality does not happen by itself. "Expanding Article 1 provides an additional guarantee that equal treatment should be and stay the norm."

The current text of Aricle 1 reads: "Discrimination on the grounds of religion, belief, political opinion, race or any other grounds whatsover shall not be permitted." If the PvdA, D66 and GroenLinks proposal succeeds, the words "disability" and "sexual orientation" will be added to that. 

For a proposal to change the constitution to succeed, it needs to pass through both the Tweede Kamer [lower house of Dutch parliament] and the Eerste Kamer [Dutch Senate] twice. The first time it needs a majority, and in the second pass through it nees a two-thirds majority in both Kamers.

The CDA threw its support behind the proposal in January. And the SP and ChristenUnie even went so far as to add the amendment to their election campaigns.

Conspicuously absent is the VVD. The party wants less specific designations in this Article of the constitution. Faction leader Halbe Zijlstra wants something similar to the American Declaration of Independence's "All men are created equal", he said to the Volkskrant. 

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