The “Weigerambtenaar” is also welcome on gay-friendly Saba

The article below is a translation from a publication on the Dutch TV-News website, by Dick Drayer.

Strangely enough, the news of the first gay marriage  in the Caribbean part of the Kingdom was not published in every Dutch newspaper, but the important ones reported: An Aruban of 26 is now married to a 27-year-old Venezuelan. The two men live in Aruba but are joined in matrimony on Saba.

It would happen one day. Since October 2010 the three Caribbean islands, Bonaire, Saba and St. Eustatius, are an integral part of the Dutch entity. Consequently, there are also the Dutch laws and rules, even if they would not be in line with the mainstream beliefs and thoughts on the islands. As the Dutch government  is not always very consistent in which law will apply and which law will not, many Caribbean Dutch had the impression that the  - pernicious – ethical legislation from the European Netherlands would not be implemented on the islands for a long time to come.

Minister Schippers was fairly smooth in setting up an abortion clinic in the hospital of Bonaire. They searched and found some doctors who were willing to legally do what is done illegally for decades on the islands of the former Netherlands Antilles. So that issue was resolved.

And now you can marry with a partner of the same sex on another island in the Caribbean: Saba. Considering the macho culture of the Caribbean islands, this is truly a remarkable step . In fact, in my view,  a bigger step  than the legalization of abortion. Even more remarkable in the situation on Saba is, that the initiative entirely came from Saba itself. No minister or other Dutch government official has put any pressure on the Island government. Same-sex marriages are now possible on Saba, because  Saba wanted it.

Carl Buncamper

Driving force behind the gay marriage is Carl Buncamper. He is openly gay and married in Canada in 2004. Since 2007 Buncamper is a member of the Island Council for the main party of Saba, the Windward Islands People’s Movement (WIPM). In the beginning it was not so easy to get sufficient support for this idea, but when he presented gay marriage as part of the Human Rights Issue, he managed to convince the council members: it is not up to the government to sanction choices in ones personal life.

The process received a favorable turn. A turn which resulted in a unique situation: nowhere in the Caribbean, is it possible for people of the same sex to marry before the law; Saba is the first and still the only place. Even Bonaire and St. Eustatius have not moved that far, although those two islands, like Saba, are also special Dutch entities.

In  the gay movement Saba is known as a “gay-friendly” island, even the Holy Communion is accessible to persons that are openly gay. Though after the civil marriage you can not yet receive the blessing from the local priest.

Saba takes the opportunity to include the possibility for persons of the same sex to marry into their master plan for tourism. The island wants to emphasize that it is an island where human rights and thus gay rights are taken seriously. That does not mean that all gay people in the world will be flocking to Saba, because the law requires that at least one of the partners has a Dutch passport. The thousands of gay persons from Aruba, St. Maarten and Curaçao with wedding plans can now avoid the expensive flight to the Netherlands as Saba is just around the corner.

And the “Weigerambtenaar”? According to Buncamper: he or she is as welcome as gay people.

You can read the original article HERE.

However not everyone on Saba is so positive about this decision of the local government. Read the opinion of … HERE. You may also note the comments on the article on this subject that has been published on SabaNews earlier: click HERE