The Dutch Senate adopted this Tuesday by majority an initiative to reform Article 1 of the Constitution of Netherlands so that discrimination based on disability or sexual orientation is expressly prohibited, in addition to religion, belief, political opinion, race, sex or “any other reason”.
An amendment to the Dutch Constitution must always be approved twice, by both the Parliament and the Senate, with the second vote requiring a two-thirds majority of both chambers. In this case, 56 senators voted in favor, and 15 against, which makes it possible to adopt the constitutional reform initiative.
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Until now, article 1 of the Constitution prohibited discrimination based on religion, belief, political opinion, race, sex or any other reason.
The authors of the initiative – the left-liberal D66, the Greens GroenLinks and the social democrats PvdA – defended the importance of amending the Magna Carta to expressly add the prohibition of discrimination based on disability or sexual orientation to the list, despite the fact that these two points were already implicitly included in “any other reason”.
“This is a historic day”said Alexander Hammelburg, a 66-year-old deputy who helped defend the law in the Senate, while PvdA’s Habtamu de Hoop warned that “a disability, or someone you fall in love with, should never be a reason for exclusion.”
Laura Bromet, from GroenLinks, considered this initiative as “an important step forward in the fight against discrimination”.
The proposal was put on the table in 2010, although it was not debated for the first time until 2019, given the complications involved in amending the Constitution.
The law still has to go through some formalities, such as being officially signed by King Willem-Alexander of Netherlands and the responsible minister, and then be published in the Official Gazette.
When this process ends, Article 1 of Chapter 1 on fundamental rights will state: “Everyone in the Netherlands will, in equal cases, be treated in the same way. No discrimination will be allowed for reasons of religion, belief, ideology, political conviction, race, sex, disability, sexual orientation or any other reason.
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