Supreme Court delays decision on same-sex marriage case in Curaçao and Aruba

November 10, 2023  –THE HAGUE – The Supreme Court in The Hague deferred a decision on Friday in the case regarding same-sex marriage in Curaçao and Aruba. Legal arguments were presented at the Supreme Court related to the appeal filed by Curaçao and Aruba opposing the legalization of marriage for same-sex couples. 

As per existing laws in both countries, marriage between individuals of the same sex is not permitted. The Joint Court of Justice in Willemstad, however, ruled on December 6, 2022, that the exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage violates anti-discrimination provisions and constitutional principles. Consequently, both Curaçao and Aruba contested the decision through an appeal. 

Representing Aruba, Attorney Jan-Paul Heering contends that the Joint Court of Justice is inappropriately assuming a political role. He asserts that the case is not about same-sex marriage or human rights but involves the judiciary overstepping into political matters. “The seat seems not to fit, as amending the law to allow same-sex marriage is much more intricate and extensive than the Court implies,” stated Heering. 

Echoing this sentiment, Attorney Chester Peterson, representing Curaçao, emphasizes that marriage, akin to numerous other countries, is a divisive issue with strong varying opinions. Approximately three-quarters of Curaçao’s population are Catholic and hold conservative views. Peterson noted, “Some adjustments in the island, Caribbean region proceed more slowly than in liberal Europe and should not be imposed.” 

Advocate Mirto Murray, speaking for Fundacion Orguyo Aruba and representing Human Rights Caribbean Foundation in Curaçao—the organizations instigating the case—outlined reasons in his plea refuting the claim that the judiciary is assuming a political role. Murray urged the Supreme Court to eradicate inequality within the Kingdom of the Netherlands and provide individuals of the same sex, even in the islands, the opportunity to formalize their love through marriage. 

The solicitor general is anticipated to present advice to the Court on January 19. Subsequently, the Supreme Court will issue a ruling, given the chairman deems it a ‘very complex case.’ 

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