The Dutch Senate has taken a historic step in the fight against discrimination by approving an amendment to the country’s constitution that explicitly prohibits discrimination against individuals based on their sexual orientation or disability. The amendment, which passed in a 56-15 vote, marks the final step in a years-long process.
Previously, the constitution banned discrimination on the basis of religion, philosophy, political preference, race, gender, and “any other grounds.” However, this amendment specifically includes sexual orientation and disability as protected characteristics, providing greater legal protections for marginalized communities.
LGBTQ+ rights group COC Netherlands welcomed the vote, stating that anchoring the anti-discrimination clause in the constitution will ensure the protection of hard-won rights for generations to come. In a statement, the group said “even if the political or social wind unexpectedly turns against the rainbow community,” the constitutional amendment guarantees that their rights will be protected.
Ieder(in), an umbrella organization for people with disabilities or chronic illnesses, also celebrated the decision, calling it “an historic day for the disability movement.” The group praised the government for taking this important step, but urged them to take further action to improve and strengthen the position of people with disabilities in both law and practice. In a statement, Ieder(in) said, “The government has been given an additional task to permanently improve and strengthen the position of people with a disability not only in law, but also in practice.”
The amendment to the constitution is a significant achievement in the fight against discrimination and a positive step towards greater equality for all Dutch citizens, regardless of their sexual orientation or disability.