NL – Same-sex partners in Aruba and Curaçao must be allowed to marry each other, according to rulings in two appellate cases delivered on Tuesday by the Joint Court of Justice of Aruba, Curaçao, Sint Maarten, and of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba. Same-sex marriage is not currently possible in the group of countries and special municipalities making up the Caribbean portion of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.
The court ruled that same-sex partners are now denied the right to participate in marriage and all the rights and benefits associated with it. “The court comes to the conclusion that the exclusion of same-sex marriage is in violation of the prohibition of discrimination and is incompatible with the constitution.”
The court’s decision regards two cases that were filed in Aruba by equal rights organization Fundacion Orguyo Aruba and in Curaçao by Human Rights Caribbean on behalf of two women who want to get married. A lower court previously ruled in the latter case that there is no justification for refusing same-sex couples a civil marriage, and instructed the legislature to take measures to eliminate the unlawful discrimination.
The Civil Code of Curaçao stipulates that a marriage can only be entered into between a man and a woman. According to the judge, this provision is contrary to the principle of equality and the prohibition of discrimination as stated in Curaçao’s constitution.
In Aruba it has been possible since September last year to enter into a registered partnership with someone of the same sex. Last June, the Aruban political party Accion21 introduced a bill to formally introduce same-sex marriage on the island.
This ruling does not necessarily mean that same-sex couples can immediately get married and be treated equally in those Caribbean countries. An appeal is possible, as is a ruling by a court of cassation.