July 22nd, 2012

Viking!

Human rights trump religious bigotry

The SGP, the christian fundamentalist political party in the Netherlands, has a stature that women can't be elected in office -- because of something in the bible. But in our constitution, it says that people can't be discriminated against based on sex. A legal battle ensued, and the highest court in the Netherlands ruled that their rules are indeed unconstitutional.
The SGP appealed to the European Court of Human Rights. And lost.

I find it very interesting that all the courts (and the ECHR is the highest court that could rule on this case -- there is no possibility to appeal this decision) ruled that yes, you have freedom of religion, but that does not mean you can discriminate against others based on their sex (or anything, really). It is also interesting that the court specifies that equality is so fundamental to the European principles that it trumps other freedoms and rights.

I am proud to be a European.

(Also, what this means for the SGP is that they will be forced to allow women to try for a position on the list for the general elections. However, the members of the party vote on the list, so there's actually zero chance that a woman will ever be on the list for the SGP. And that's OK with me, actually -- because the membershave the right to assemble the list they want, just like all the other political parties. But the discriminatory stature will have to go.)