As a rainbow-coloured flotilla paraded through Amsterdam's canals for the city's annual Gay Pride festival on Saturday, one float carried a sobering reminder that gay rights do not extend to all in the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Although the Netherlands itself became the first country to legalize gay marriage in 2001, the three Caribbean members of the larger Kingdom - Aruba, Curacao and Sint Maarten - have yet to follow suit, reflecting cultural taboos in the mostly Catholic island nations.
That leaves the Kingdom, famed for its tolerant stance on marijuana and euthanasia, apparently less progressive on gay rights than Ireland, where voters approved gay marriage in a referendum in May, and the United States, where the Supreme Court upheld a constitutional right to gay marriage in June.
"We want to have the same legislation throughout our kingdom. That would empower all gay and transgender organizations in addressing the question of social acceptance", said Ramona Pikeur, director of Caribbean gay rights organization Dushi & Proud.The Dutch government says it is seeking dialogue, rather than confrontation, with the island nations to promote gay rights and acceptance of gay marriage. Read More