The Dutch Senate Tuesday voted 56-15 to amend the Constitution to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and disability in a major victory for Dutch LGBTQ+ and disability rights activists.The Senate voted on a proposal to amend Article 1 of the Constitution which reads:All persons in the Netherlands shall be treated equally in equal circumstances. Discrimination on the grounds of religion, belief, political opinion, race or sex or on any other grounds whatsoever shall not be permitted.Prior to the passage of this amendment, the Dutch constitution prohibited discrimination on the basis of religion, philosophy, political preference, race, gender, “or on any other grounds.”The proposal was initiated by two lawmakers from opposition parties and one representative from the centrist party D66, which is part of the ruling coalition. The bill was debated on December 20, 2022 and was supposed to go to a vote that same day, but was blocked by the right-wing PVV party which called for a roll-call vote. Given the proximity to the holidays, there were not enough legislators present to hold a floor vote that day, hence the delay. The initiators felt that the time had come to include these grounds in the Constitution after extensive public debate. Opponents argued these inclusions were unnecessary since Article 1 already provided sufficient protection.The amendments were well received by LGBTQ+ rights and disability rights organizations. LGBTQ+ rights group COC Nederland welcomed the decision, calling it a “historic victory for the rainbow community.” Dutch Minister of the Interior Bruins Slot stressed the importance of keeping the Constitution up to date.
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