Last week the far right news sources were exulting that their predictions had come true. They claimed that gay civil unions had led to a polygamous civil union in the Netherlands. This, they said, is proof that if we allow gay people to have any rights as a couple we’ll have polygamy here as well.
Even Bill O’Reilly, who – though opposed to gay marriage – has taken on Steven Bennett and others about their ex-gay claims and extreme anti-gay tactics, took the story further and claimed the three had gotten married.
Now it turns out they were wrong after all.
The “civil union” did not exist. Rather, the three people signed an agreement to live together and had it notarized. This is something you could do today, if you so wish, and it would have no more or less standing than it would in the Netherlands.
Radical Right Spreads False Information About Dutch Relationship
It’s important to correct the record regarding an erroneous news item from the Netherlands. Last week, some news organizations and web-sites reported that the Dutch allowed three people to enter a civil union. The story was not accurate. The radical right pounced on this story as proof, they say, that the recognition of gay and lesbian relationships will follow a slippery slope that leads to polygamy. Evan Wolfson, Executive Director of Freedom to Marry, writes, “We looked into the claim and found an erroneous report in something called the Brussels Journal. The Brussels Journal misusing the term ‘civil union’ and talking about something ‘registered by a notary.’ Once we checked this with a leading Dutch expert who follows legal developments in family law, we learned that the only legally relevant thing that happened was that three people, with the help of a notary, signed a private cohabitation contract — and did not enter into any kind of legal state-recognized union. Such personal agreements are not registered, and do not have legal implications for third parties. In both these respects, as well with regard to the state’s imprimatur, a personal agreement or contract is different from both marriage and registered partnership. (And civil union, as such, is not a legal status in the Netherlands).
“Again, this was a private arrangement among three people, not a marriage or partnership or union. According to our Dutch expert, there is no law in the Netherlands (nor in most other countries) that limits the number of parties who can among themselves make a personal agreement or cohabitation contract. Dutch law does not regulate cohabitation contracts as such. Some Dutch laws (for example in the fields of tax and social security), however, attach certain legal consequences to the de facto cohabitation of two people (whether or not these cohabitants have signed a cohabitation contract), but never to the de facto cohabitation of three or more people.”
As can be seen from following the link, the Brussels Journal is not a reputable news source but a blog. The tone of their articles puts them pretty much in-line with the American extreme right web sites like WorldNetDaily.
For further info see also Anonymous Liberal. He has further links.