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Tuesday, 12 September, 2000, 15:26 GMT 16:26 UK
Netherlands legalises gay marriage
Netherlands to vote on same-sex marriages
The Dutch parliament has enacted a bill legalising fully-fledged marriages between same sex couples.

The move was approved by a large majority and supporters say the Netherlands now offers rights for gays beyond those of anywhere else in the world.

Cohabitation or civil partnership between gay couples has been recognised in law in the Netherlands for more than two years, along with the appropriate tax, pension, inheritance and other legal rights.

The Dutch parliament is also voting on a proposal on the adoption of children by legally married homosexual couples.

Government pledge

The pledge to legalise homosexual marriage was carried over from the previous government.

The public debate this time round has been mainly symbolic.

Nothing had been expected to block the enactment of both bills, even though Christian Democrats and smaller right-wing parties opposed the proposal for homosexual adoption.

They will then have to pass through the upper house and are likely to become law in January.

Wide acceptance

Civil partnerships are already quite popular with gay couples in the Netherlands.

A survey by the Justice Ministry showed that 60% of homosexuals in civil partnerships would like to apply for marital status. The survey also showed that social stigma is something that gay spouses are unlikely to face in the Netherlands.

Two weeks ago a poll carried out by the reformist Daily newspaper showed that 62% of Dutch people have no objection to gay marriages.

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See also:

26 Apr 00 | Americas
Vermont's gays win parity
30 Mar 00 | Americas
US rabbis approve gay partnership
08 Mar 00 | Americas
California rejects gay marriage
12 Feb 00 | Americas
Canada unveils equality law for gays
01 Feb 99 | Europe
Protest at 'gay marriage' plans
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