Same-sex marriage in Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba is legal following the entry into force of a law enabling same-sex couples to marry on 10 October 2012.[1][2]

The Caribbean Netherlands were the first jurisdiction in the Caribbean to legalise same-sex marriage, and were followed a few months later by French Caribbean territories, including Guadeloupe and Martinique, in May 2013.

Background

In 1954, the islands of Aruba, Curaçao, Bonaire, Sint Maarten, Saba, and Sint Eustatius became a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, known as the Netherlands Antilles. Aruba seceded from the Netherlands Antilles in 1986 to became its own separate constituent country within the Kingdom. The Netherlands Antilles was dissolved in 2010; Curaçao and Sint Maarten joined Aruba in becoming autonomous constituent countries, while Saba, Bonaire and Sint Eustastius became special municipalities of the Netherlands proper. Voters in Saba and Bonaire had voted for integration into the Netherlands in referendums in 2004, while Sint Eustastius had voted against integration in 2005. Under the law of the Netherlands Antilles, same-sex couples were not permitted to marry, despite same-sex marriage having been legalised in the Netherlands proper in 2001.[3]

Same-sex marriage law

Recognition of same-sex unions in the Lesser Antilles  .mw-parser-output .legend{page-break-inside:avoid;break-inside:avoid-column}.mw-parser-output .legend-color{display:inline-block;min-width:1.25em;height:1.25em;line-height:1.25;margin:1px 0;text-align:center;border:1px solid black;background-color:transparent;color:black}.mw-parser-output .legend-text{}  Same-sex marriage   Other type of partnership   Unregistered cohabitation   No recognition of same-sex couples   Constitutional ban on same-sex marriage   Same-sex sexual activity illegal but penalties not enforced   Island subject to IACHR ruling, penalty not enforced   vte
Recognition of same-sex unions in the Lesser Antilles
  Same-sex marriage
  Other type of partnership
  Unregistered cohabitation
  No recognition of same-sex couples
  Constitutional ban on same-sex marriage
  Same-sex sexual activity illegal but penalties not enforced
  Island subject to IACHR ruling, penalty not enforced

As the States General of the Netherlands was debating legislation to establish the Caribbean Netherlands, MPs Johan Remkes and Ineke van Gent introduced an amendment to open marriage to same-sex couples on the islands. The government of Prime Minister Mark Rutte announced it preferred to negotiate the change with the islands first.[4][5] The issue was particularly controversial on the island of Sint Eustatius, with many Christian islanders opposing the principle of the law and because of the perceived "neocolonialism" of the Netherlands imposing such a law on its overseas municipalities. The Island Council also passed a resolution opposing same-sex marriage.[6]

The law, known as the Implementation Act Public Entities Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba, was passed by the Parliament, received royal assent by Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands on 17 May 2010, and took effect on 10 October 2010. This established the Caribbean Netherlands, and incorporated Saba, Sint Eustatius and Bonaire into the Netherlands proper as special municipalities. The islands were given a civil code, and Netherlands Antilles legislation was gradually replaced with Dutch legislation over the following years. The Second Amendment Act Public Bodies Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba, in force since 1 January 2011, amended the Civil Code to insert two clauses ensuring recognition of marriages and registered partnerships performed abroad, including in the Netherlands, and providing these unions with the same treatment as the marriages and partnerships of opposite-sex couples.[7] It was expected that provisions permitting same-sex marriages to be solemnised on the islands would come into effect within two years.

Legislation to legalise same-sex marriage on the islands took effect on 10 October 2012. Article 1:30 of the Civil Code was changed from "Marriage can only exist between a man and a woman" to:[8]

(A marriage can be entered into by two persons of different or of the same sex)

The first same-sex marriage in Saba was performed on 4 December 2012 between Cedeno Xiomar Gonzalez, an Aruban, and Israel Ernesto Ruiz Pinto, from Venezuela, who were both residents of Aruba.[9][10][11] The first same-sex wedding in Bonaire was performed in May 2013 between Aruban-Venezuelan couple Jean Ardley Baiz and Norbert Miguel Torrealba,[12] and the first public same-sex marriage in Sint Eustatius took place in December 2019 in Oranjestad between Walter Hellebrand and Christopher Russell, though several same-sex couples had already married in Sint Eustatius in private ceremonies.[13]

See also

References

  1. ^ "Burgerlijk wetboek BES, boek 1" (in Dutch). Government of the Netherlands. Archived from the original on 4 April 2016. Retrieved 12 October 2012.
  2. ^ "Aanpassingswet openbare lichamen Bonaire, Sint Eustatius en Saba" (in Dutch). Government of the Netherlands. 1 September 2010. Archived from the original on 6 March 2016. Retrieved 4 April 2016.
  3. ^ "About the Caribbean Netherlands". www.netherlandsandyou.nl.
  4. ^ "Aanpassingswet openbare lichamen Bonaire, Sint Eustatius en Saba, Nr. 23 GEWIJZIGD AMENDEMENT VAN DE LEDEN VAN GENT EN REMKES TER VERVANGING VAN DAT GEDRUKT ONDER NR. 14" (in Dutch). Government of the Netherlands. 5 March 2010. Archived from the original on 2 April 2016. Retrieved 4 April 2016.
  5. ^ "Aanpassingswet openbare lichamen Bonaire, Sint Eustatius en Saba, NOTA NAAR AANLEIDING VAN HET VERSLAG" (in Dutch). Government of the Netherlands. 5 November 2009. Archived from the original on 3 March 2016. Retrieved 18 December 2010.
  6. ^ "Resistance against same-sex marriages on St Eustatius". Rnw.org. Retrieved 2017-04-01.
  7. ^ "Tweede aanpassingswet openbare lichamen Bonaire, Sint Eustatius en Saba – A" (in Dutch). Government of the Netherlands. Archived from the original on 15 March 2016. Retrieved 18 December 2010.
  8. ^ "Burgerlijk Wetboek BES Boek 1". wetten.overheid.nl (in Dutch). Retrieved 6 May 2020.
  9. ^ "Saba records first gay marriage on Tuesday". St. Maarten Time. 4 December 2012. Archived from the original on 13 March 2016. Retrieved 4 April 2016.
  10. ^ "First Gay Marriage In Dutch Caribbean". Curacao Chronicle. 4 December 2012. Archived from the original on 1 April 2016. Retrieved 4 April 2016.
  11. ^ "First same-gender wedding in Caribbean Netherlands". Dutch Caribbean Legal Portal. 5 December 2012. Archived from the original on 4 April 2016. Retrieved 4 April 2016.
  12. ^ "Eerste homohuwelijk op Bonaire". NOS Nieuws (in Dutch). 20 May 2013.
  13. ^ "Eerste openbare homohuwelijk op Statia". Antilliaans Dagblad (in Dutch). 1 December 2019.