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Article Netherlands: Constitution Amended to Explicitly Prohibit Discrimination Based on Sexual Orientation or Disability

On January 17, 2023, the Dutch Senate (Eerste Kamer), the upper house of the Dutch parliament, approved in a second reading an amendment to the constitutional principle of nondiscrimination to include sexual orientation and disability. The amendment was approved in a roll-call vote with 56 members of parliament (MPs) voting in favor and 15 MPs voting against. The House of Representatives (Tweede Kamer) had adopted the proposal on March 15, 2022. The amendment will enter into force immediately after publication in the Dutch gazette (Staatsblad). (Grondwet (Dutch Constitution) art. 139.)

Previously, the principle of nondiscrimination, which is codified in article 1 of the  Constitution, explicitly prohibited only discrimination based on “religion, belief, political opinion, race, or sex or on any other grounds whatsoever.”

Furthermore, the Dutch Senate approved an additional motion requiring the government to submit to the State Commission on Discrimination and Racism (Staatscommissie discriminatie en racism) a proposal to rearrange the wording of article 1 of the Constitution so that the general prohibition (“discrimination on any grounds whatsoever”) is placed before the specific nondiscrimination grounds.

Background on the Constitutional Amendment Procedure

An amendment of the Constitution requires two readings of the proposed amendment in both the House of Representatives and the Senate. The first reading follows the standard legislative procedure, meaning a simple majority is required to adopt the proposal. A second reading in the House of Representative may take place only after parliamentary elections, so that voters may have an input. (Grondwet art. 137, para. 3.) At the second reading, a two-thirds majority of both houses is required to pass the bill. (Art. 137, para. 4.)

Jenny Gesley, Law Library of Congress
February 10, 2023

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Chicago citation style:

Gesley, Jenny. Netherlands: Constitution Amended to Explicitly Prohibit Discrimination Based on Sexual Orientation or Disability. 2023. Web Page. https://www.loc.gov/item/global-legal-monitor/2023-02-09/netherlands-constitution-amended-to-explicitly-prohibit-discrimination-based-on-sexual-orientation-or-disability/.

APA citation style:

Gesley, J. (2023) Netherlands: Constitution Amended to Explicitly Prohibit Discrimination Based on Sexual Orientation or Disability. [Web Page] Retrieved from the Library of Congress, https://www.loc.gov/item/global-legal-monitor/2023-02-09/netherlands-constitution-amended-to-explicitly-prohibit-discrimination-based-on-sexual-orientation-or-disability/.

MLA citation style:

Gesley, Jenny. Netherlands: Constitution Amended to Explicitly Prohibit Discrimination Based on Sexual Orientation or Disability. 2023. Web Page. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <www.loc.gov/item/global-legal-monitor/2023-02-09/netherlands-constitution-amended-to-explicitly-prohibit-discrimination-based-on-sexual-orientation-or-disability/>.