"Going Dutch"
April 1, 2001 6:08 AM   Subscribe

"Going Dutch" will never mean the same again. As of today, Dutch law allows same-sex marriages. Though other countries register same-sex couples, this new Dutch law is groundbreaking as it eliminates all references to gender in laws governing marriage, adoption, inheritance, pension rights, taxes and divorce. Even the dictionary's definition of marriage will be changed.
posted by prolific (18 comments total)
I had anticipated this sometime ago when I read about the person "putting a finger in the dike." I am a religious person and would like to see Americans boycott tulips (or even three).
posted by Postroad at 7:28 AM on April 1, 2001

Love reading the quote from a newlywed regarding how "we" decided to be progressive, marriage policy-wise. Dig a little bit into Dutch policy-making, and you'll notice that it's pretty much oligarchic. It's democratic mostly in name, with elections held once a year and only for the legislature. Then issues are largely decided in secret before they go before the legislature. It's not American governing has no features of elitism or oligarchy. It's more a matter of scale. This should be kept in mind whenever one begins blindly praising Dutch policy as being more with it or forward looking or what have you.
posted by raysmj at 8:14 AM on April 1, 2001

It will happen here eventually. You will be able to marry your boyfriend and have a 3 way with the dog too.
posted by a3matrix at 8:42 AM on April 1, 2001

raysmj, I love your drunken post. Keep up the good work, man!
posted by LucVdB at 9:08 AM on April 1, 2001

LucVdB: Whatever that meant. Not slamming the Dutch there, just pointing out that their policy-making process is very different than our own. Surveys show the Dutch as being considerably more deferential to authority than Americans too. It's a more communal culture. The latter is to my mind a fine thing. I'm not saying I have a problem with such policies as the marriage one either. The way in which policies are passed in the Netherlands, however, seems fairly objectionable to me and not worth copying. I thought being open about what the government does, allowing people into the democratic process as much as possible, etc., was something to strive toward too, even if it too often seems a pipe dream. Sorry.

What I'd like to learn more from coverage about such policies is, What can we learn here? Instead the stories are merely celebratory regarding the policies themselves, slanted in "look what they did, isn't it great?" sort of way.
posted by raysmj at 9:39 AM on April 1, 2001

raysmj, the policy would never be adopted here via democratic means because not enough people support it, so I don't see any other way to read this news besides "look how forward thinking those dutch are."

I doubt we see a similar law passed on the federal level for 30-40 years.

Isn't that a depressing thought?
posted by mathowie at 9:49 AM on April 1, 2001

Mathowie: we will be lucky if abortion is legal in 30 years.
posted by Postroad at 9:51 AM on April 1, 2001

The idea of eliminating gender from all policy-making seems like a brilliant first step for mankind (sic). Canada is currently grappling with similar issues of gender in legislature. Hopefully, a similar step can be made here. America, however, will have to wait a significant amount of time before such moves are made... and I stress significant. Is there a usefulness in having gender encoded into legislature for other reasons I may be overlooking, or does it serve no purpose other than to "genderfy" laws and experiences of people?
posted by Ms Snit at 10:07 AM on April 1, 2001

Mathowie: It's also a chicken-egg question in re to the Netherlands. Which came first, a decision of government elites or the nation's people? And yes, thinking about it can lead one to become severely depressed. But there's plenty of things we Americans do to make passing progressive policies harder than necessary -- allowing the insane campaign finance morass go on indefinitely (though the Senate's finally working on it) for one. Then there's apathy. Then there's that important little thing called leadership, as opposed to following poll numbers. I could go on and on about things like Congressional reforms in the '70s that made passing anything about 10 times harder than necessary too, but . . . Whether the U.S. Constitution still makes passing good policies too hard is another question, but who can say for sure given all the layers of crap in the way?

Of course, American policies would maybe still not be worth cheering about, even if all the above problems could be worked out. But isn't having a "democratic spirit" one of those self-actualizing things at the top of Maslow's pyramid for a good reason, and not just something he felt all warm and fuzzy about?
posted by raysmj at 10:11 AM on April 1, 2001

raysmj, thank you for expanding on your earlier post, your writings amuse me no end. Please post more, especially about the Netherlands, about which you write so authoritatively.
Yes, I am mocking you. I humbly submit you know not what you're talking about. But it sure is funny!
posted by LucVdB at 11:54 AM on April 1, 2001

LucyVdB: If you know what you're talking about, then say so. If you want to engage in real debate, then do so. You might also try including an e-mail address. Otherwise, the one who comes off looking like a fool is yourself.
posted by raysmj at 11:59 AM on April 1, 2001

Or LucVdB, whoever you are.
posted by raysmj at 12:52 PM on April 1, 2001

Even the dictionary's definition of marriage will be changed.

Doubleplus good.

"But it was all right, everything was all right, the struggle was finished. He had won the victory over himself. He loved Big Brother."
posted by MrBaliHai at 6:23 PM on April 1, 2001

Postroad: what do same-sex marriage and abortion have to do with each other?
posted by sonofsamiam at 8:09 AM on April 2, 2001

Amen, MrBaliHai...

Changing a definition in the dictionary is ominous, indeed. Words have a life of their own, and can't just be changed, willy nilly.

Granted, in France (and elsewhere, I imagine), there is legislation to use old words correctly, and to create new words when something new arises... but changing a word in current use is pretty daring.
posted by silusGROK at 10:59 AM on April 2, 2001

OK, that battle's won, now on to interspecies partners. Aux barricades, mes amis! Help make the next big venereal disease Dutch Elm.
posted by jfuller at 11:28 AM on April 2, 2001

Changing a definition in the dictionary is ominous, indeed. Words have a life of their own, and can't just be changed, willy nilly.

Which means changing the dictionary is not ominous, but rather a complete waste of time and energy.
posted by kindall at 12:35 PM on April 2, 2001

> ...changing the dictionary is not ominous, but rather a
> complete waste of time and energy.

One suspects it can be both. When the authorities figure out that changing the dictionary had no effect they'll want medication and therapy for regressives who won't alter their word use to match the party line. If you accept therapy and reeducation then you were just deluded and ill but if you won't you must be a hate criminal.
posted by jfuller at 12:51 PM on April 2, 2001

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