Passing with a vote of 124 in favor and 26 against, the lower chamber of parliament in The Netherlands has passed a measure to add LGBTQ+ protections to the country's constitution, according to Gay Star News. Activists are hailing the vote as the measure now moves to the country's upper chamber of parliament for debate and voting.
"Today we are taking a big step towards anchoring our rights in the constitution," Astrid Oosenbrug, chairman of the Dutch LGBTQ+ organization COC Netherlands, is quoted by Gay Star News.
The country's constitution already forbids discrimination based on race, gender, and religious or political beliefs. Second Deputy Prime Minister Kajsa Ollongren reportedly confirmed in debate that the definition of gender includes transgender and intersex people.
The measure now goes to the 75-seat upper chamber or Eerste Kamer for debate and voting. The Netherlands is a parliamentary constitutional monarchy with upper and lower chambers of parliament. Only the 150-seat lower chamber or Tweede Kamer is directly elected by the Dutch people.
If passed by a majority vote in both chambers, the proposal is then put to another vote where at least two-thirds of both chambers must vote in favor. This second vote can only take place after Parliament has dissolved and reformed following a general election, though. The belief is that the general election provides the Dutch people with their chance to have a voice in the process.
The Netherlands has long been recognized for its recognition of LGBTQ+ rights. It was first country to recognize marriage equality in 2001, and last week announced gender will no longer be issued on identification cards issued by the government, although it will still be listed on passports.
According to Gay Star News, Oosenbrug believes the vote in the lower chamber is "important for the future" and that it will serve "as a guarantee that we can still enjoy our hard-won rights in fifty or a hundred years."