NautaDutilh's Supreme Court litigation team contributes to marriage equality in Aruba and Curacao
On 6 December 2022, the Court of Appeal of the Dutch Caribbean held that the discrimination of same-sex couples in Aruba and Curacao is unlawful. NautaDutilh's Dutch Supreme Court litigation team assisted Dutch Caribbean attorneys David Wever and Mirto Murray and our clients Human Rights Caribbean Foundation, Fundacion Orguyo Aruba, and two lesbian couples, on a pro bono basis in this historic public interest litigation.
The Court of Appeal's decisions rank amongst the most notable human rights judgments in the Kingdom of the Netherlands. In the proceedings, the legislation was tested against the non-discrimination provision in the respective Constitutions of Curacao and Aruba. Importantly, the court found that it is not barred to adjudicate the issue on the basis of a political question doctrine.
"This case shows that you can really make a difference by using the law as an instrument for change," says Freerk Vermeulen, who leads the NautaDutilh team in these proceedings. "From a legal point of view, this case is groundbreaking, too. The Court of Appeal did not only state that ending unlawful discrimination should result in the equalisation in terms of property rights, but that it should entail opening up actual marriage, which we believe is a rarity in similar proceedings around the world."
"The fact that the Court of Appeal opens up marriage in their judgments does not only mean that same-sex couples in Aruba and Curacao will be able to marry the person they love, it also enables them to enjoy the legal benefits connected with marriage," adds David den Blaauwen. "The rights of LGBTI+ people are currently under pressure in several places around the world, so the affirmation and recognition of LGBTI+ rights by the Court of Appeal means a lot."
The NautaDutilh team handling this case consists of Freerk Vermeulen, Aalt Colenbrander and David den Blaauwen.