Community receptive to civil unions for same-sex couples

On Monday, March 1, Parliament will vote on proposed changes to our civil code that include civil unions. Unlike marriage, civil unions will be available to both same-sex and heterosexual couples. Currently same-sex couples are obliged to travel overseas to seek legal recognition i.e. marry in Bonaire and afterwards register their marriage at censo. However, this registration is merely ceremonial as it does not confer any of the rights such as property, inheritance, tax filing that other couples enjoy.

Unfortunately, the actual Minister of Justice, Andin Bikker, when he was a member of parliament, eliminated the schakelbepaling from the amendment that introduced civil unions. Thereby depriving same-sex couples of consequently acquiring all the rights and benefits fundamental to family life and living in union.

Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) establishes the, ‘right to respect for private and family life, home and correspondence.’ In the case, Oliari and others v Italy, the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) established a positive obligation upon member states to provide legal recognition for same-sex couples. Following an advice from HOF (Joint Court of Justice) which apparently deviates from the essence of Article 8, the government of Aruba is planning to include so-called ‘fundamental rights’ such as property, alimony and inheritance for those in a civil union.

According to the Joint Court of Justice of the islands, postponing so-called suppletory rights such as custody, tax filing and social services to a later date will avoid Aruba being in violation of the ECHR. This is an erroneous conclusion because this approach fails to provide same-sex couples with legal recognition of a union that is comparable and includes all the rights and benefits that traditional marriage entails.

We of ACCION 21 carried out a scientific study of more than 1500 participants and with a margin of error of 2.5%. One of the topics covered was same-sex civil unions and marriage. The following are some of the results:

For Same Sex Couple: Civil Union, 49% pro, 32% against, 19% don’t know

Marriage, 46% pro, 37% against. 17% don’t know.

In our community there is clearly more people supporting both civil unions and marriage for same-sex couples than against.

Age:                                    18-29    30-44     45-59    60+

In favor of Civil Union:  76%        59%      40%     28%

Against Civil Union:      11%        26%      41%     43%

Don’t know:                  14%        15%      19%      29%

In favor of Marriage:     73%        54%      37%      27%

Against marriage:        16%         33%      45%      49%

Don’t know:                  11%        13%      18%      24%

The same division of opinion that exists between persons of different age groups also exists between different levels of education. Those with a limited level of education are 69% against civil unions for same-sex couples. That is in stark contrast to persons with an advanced level of education who are 77% in favor of civil unions for same-sex couples.

In the 21st century surely there is no more space for discrimination or prejudice. We of ACCION 21 have anchored in our party constitution a firm commitment to human rights.

Article 4 Objectives and Resources

D. realize politics that guarantee an open and free society that is just and based on the fundamental rights of liberty, equality, community and solidarity.

 G. promote a society in which labor, individual and social justice, prosperity and the wellbeing and security of every citizen is safeguarded; so that every prejudice and or discrimination on the basis of race, skin color, religion, age, limitation, gender, sexual orientation, inequality and entrenched privileges are rejected.






Share on:

February 27, 2021
Rona Coster