Dutch Christian Civil Servant Fired For Opposing Gay Marriage
ReligionNewsBlog.com • Wednesday November 16, 2011
THE HAGUE, NETHERLANDS (BosNewsLife)– A Christian civil servant has been fired by the Dutch city of The Hague for refusing to oversee same-sex marriages on Biblical grounds.
Wim Pijl, 67, said Tuesday, November 15, he would take legal action against the dismissal despite parliamentary support for gay weddings.
“For me this is a personal case,” explained Pijl. He also told reporters that God opposes same-sex marriages. “As a Christian I learned from the Bible that there is only one marriage, between a man and a woman.”
The Hague city government said through a spokesman that it had no other choice than to dismiss Pijl as he had “refused to take back his remarks.”
Additionally, Dutch parliament effectively sealed his dismissal Tuesday, November 15, with most legislators voting for a law proposal that would force officials overseeing marriages to officiate at gay weddings.
The Netherlands has 104 civil servants refusing to perform same-sex marriage ceremonies, according to Dutch gay rights group COC.
Tuesday’s motion was tabled by the left-leaning opposition GroenLinks, or ‘GreenLeft’ party. The ruling People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD) and Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA) opposed the move, but failed to get a parliamentary majority.
“I am intensely sad and very disappointed about this decision,” said Pijl in a reaction.
Last week, Pijl reluctantly performed a marriage ceremony of two men, saying he had not been told ahead of time that he would preside over a gay wedding.
“I can not discriminate gay couples, but I am discriminated against because of my views. I will seriously look into possible legal action against the dismissal,” said Pijl, who is also a former city councilor of a Christian faction.
Pijl is supported in his case by the RMU trade union which said it was “shocked” about the situation.
The Netherlands became the world’s first country to legalize gay marriage in 2001.
Prime Minister Mark Rutte says he guarantees that same-sex couples will be able to tie the knot in all Dutch municipalities.
He made his statement following Friday’s cabinet meeting. However, he added that the issue of registrars who refuse to marry same-sex couples because of their religious persuasions was ‘extremely complicated’.
Mr Rutte said the cabinet has asked the Council of State, the highest administrative court and highest government advisory body, for advice.
The prime minister’s comments were prompted by Wednesday’s dismissal of a registrar in The Hague who was sacked after he told national newspaper Trouw in an interview that he had strong moral objections against marrying gay and a lesbian couples. [...]
The Hague council recently presented an emancipation policy document in which it rejects the cabinet viewpoint that registrars should be allowed to refuse marrying same-sex couples on religious grounds.
The Hague council explicitly asks new registrars whether they have a problem with marrying same-sex couples. Registrars already employed by the city are assumed to be aware its policies on the issue. The council says Mr Pijl’s statements in the interview with Trouw made it clear he had no intention of complying.
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