Proposition 50K2165

Logo (Chamber of representatives)

Projet de loi ouvrant le mariage à des personnes de même sexe et modifiant certaines dispositions du Code civil.


(From the official documents)

Dans notre société, le mariage est encore considéré par la majorité des gens comme la base idéale pour une communauté de vie durable entre deux personnes. Bien que le Code civil ne stipule nulle part que seules des personnes de sexe différent peuvent contracter mariage, la doctrine et la jurisprudence ont toujours considéré que la différence de sexe était une condition positive de la conclusion du mariage.

La logique sous-jacente à ce point de vue partait de l’idée que le but du mariage est la procréation. Puisque des personnes du même sexe ne sont pas en mesure de procréer ensemble, la doctrine et la jurisprudence ont considéré que les conjoints devaient être de sexe différent. La doctrine et la jurisprudence ont trouvé appui à leur thèse dans les articles 162 et 163 du Code civil, qui contiennent les empêchements à mariage entre frère et soeur, oncle et nièce, et tante et neveu.

Force est de constater aujourd’hui que cette explication est dépassée. En effet, des enfants sont conçus et naissent aussi bien dans le mariage qu’en dehors de celui-ci, et beaucoup de couples mariés ne considèrent plus la procréation comme la finalité essentielle du mariage.

Dans notre société contemporaine, le mariage est vécu et ressenti comme une relation entre deux personnes, ayant comme but principal la création d’une communauté de vie durable. Le mariage offre aux deux partenaires la possibilité d’affirmer au grand jour leur relation et les sentiments qu’ils ont l’un pour l’autre.

Les mentalités ayant évolué — aujourd’hui, le mariage sert essentiellement à extérioriser et à affirmer la relation intime de deux personnes et perd son caractère procréatif —, il n’y a plus aucune raison de ne pas ouvrir le mariage aux personnes du même sexe. L’ouverture du mariage signifierait que les couples de même sexe pourraient se prévaloir du droit fondamental de se marier.

General information

Submitted by
The Senate
Submission date
May 28, 2002
Official page
marriage sexual minority


Voted to adopt
Groen CD&V Vooruit Ecolo PS | SP Open Vld
Voted to reject

Party dissidents

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Jan. 30, 2003 | Plenary session (Chamber of representatives)

Full source

President Herman De Croo

The rapporteurs are Grauwels and Lalieux. Have you divided the tasks? Their

I agree that Ms. Grauwels will report on behalf of the committee and that Ms. Lalieux will intervene in the general discussion.

Rapporteur Kristien Grauwels

Mr. Speaker, in the introduction, the Minister states that marriage is an ideal to be pursued for many people. Although it was not explicitly mentioned in the Civil Code, it was always assumed that marriage was reserved for couples of different sexes. A marriage was aimed at reproduction. The concept of marriage has changed. Marriage is primarily considered to be the formalization of a lasting bond. Children are also born outside of marriage, and not every marriage is concluded with the intention of having children. As a result of these changed views, there is no reason to deny marriage to same-sex couples, the minister said. Homosexual and heterosexual couples are treated equally. Their

Marriage does not have any effect on descent. The current descent law assumes only biologically possible situations. According to this bill, adoption is reserved for couples of different sexes.

The Minister points out that the State Council’s opinion in its decision states that international treaties always assume marriage as a commitment of two persons of different sexes. He also points out that married hole couples abroad will not be recognized as such.

In the general discussion following the introduction of the Minister, the Greens argue that marriage primarily regulates the loving and lasting relationship between partners. However, marriage is not the only valuable form of society. Opening marriage to everyone makes it clear that society considers homosexual and heterosexual relations as equal. Opening up marriage is also a strong symbol for young people who doubt their sexual orientation. Opening marriage to all, therefore, ends the existing discrimination. The Greens therefore clearly choose to open the marriage to everyone. They are not there to extend the social contract or to develop a new figure alongside the marriage, so as to prevent the marriage from being opened to cattle couples. What is regrettable is that there is no arrangement for the children who are born once in holebikups. Furthermore, the Agalev-Ecolo group has submitted proposals to regulate parenting. We hope that in the near future the relationship with the children within such couples can also be regulated legally. The issue of a non-Belgian partner is also not covered in this proposal. We find this a regrettable matter.

The CDH group is against the marriage of same-sex partners. Instead, they prefer an extension of the legal cohabitation. The group respects homosexual preference, but states that the difference between homosexual and heterosexual couples justifies a difference in treatment. There is no discrimination in the CDH.

The VLD group argues that the degree of tolerance of a society can be derived from the degree in which one respects its minorities. The VLD is for marriage and considers it important that no new institution was created with the same rights, but with a different name than marriage. The VLD group also regrets that there was no arrangement for children.

The Flemish Bloc is opposed. The speaker says he does not want to go back to the time when homosexuality was considered a disease, but judges, for example, the campaigns of the Flemish government as an incentive to promiscuity. The group argues that marriage is reserved for people of different sexes and fears that this draft will also give rise to enabling adoption in the future.

The SP.A group advocates and notes that the concept of marriage evolves in the sense of a contract to be entered into. It is regrettable that the child wishes of different holebib pairs were not taken into account. It also wants to check whether a marriage of a Belgian with a non-Belgian cannot be regulated in the Codex of International Private Law, which is still to be discussed.

CD&V considers this design to be an ethical issue. Mr Van Parys defends a personal point of view. He believes that this bill gives a new meaning to the concept of marriage.

The previous meaning was that marriage was aimed at the survival of the group, the transmission of life, the establishment of new family relations. The new embodiment given to it is primarily focused on self-development and self-realization, according to Mr. Van Parys. He regrets that the original meaning of marriage, namely the creation of a new social fabric, is abandoned. Mr Verherstraeten of the same group interprets the party’s position and supports the draft. He suggests that 20% to 30% of the population is negative about holebians and says against adoption by holebians.

Finally, the PS is in favour. It attaches great importance to the symbolic value of the design. She regrets the opinion of the State Council which contained a moral judgment. She also regrets that dog couples cannot adopt: one discrimination is eliminated but another remains. Mr. Giet is somewhat surprised that the cave community considers marriage so important. He has advocated for the social contract during the previous legislature.

The draft law is therefore adopted in the committee with 9 votes for, 3 against and 1 abstinence.

So far the report.

Dear colleagues, the Agalev-Ecolo group finds the opening of marriage for everyone an important design. We will therefore support it.

First, this draft ends the existing discrimination that existed, so far, between same-sex couples and those of different sexes. One couple, a heterosexual couple, could get married while the other, a holebish couple, could not. However, the government agreement stipulates that discrimination based on gender or sexual preference must be eliminated. In both types of couples, those of different and those of the same sex, it is about people who want to see a lasting and loving relationship confirmed with each other but also with society. They want to expressly show that they engage in good and bad days, with the rights and duties associated with marriage.

The opening of marriage to all is a justified demand of the cavern movement. Therefore, a green program is implemented. When we look at the past, but also when we look at other cultures, we find that homosexuality is of all times and of all cultures. The way one reacts to it, the way one accepts it, can vary. We ourselves come from the mentality that homosexuality was considered a disease and that homosexuality was punished. Fortunately, we have evolved toward greater openness. But even today it is still not self-evident to openly show his sexual preference and openly advocate for it.

Filip Anthuenis Open Vld

The [...]

Kristien Grauwels Groen

In everyday life, many dogs still experience what it means when one wants to stand out for his gearedness. This is noticed, for example, when you are invited with your partner on a more or less official occasion. Then there are always problems in the sense of: are all partners, including holebipartners, invited? I can assure you that then often the struggle, or the discussion, must be engaged.

This requires every time that one takes it very explicitly for his sexual orientation.

This design, which allows marriage for all couples, is a very strong symbol with respect to all those involved to whom it clearly expresses that their relationship is valued in the same way as a heterorelation.

However, this design does not regulate everything and several factions would have wanted to go further. This design does not regulate the recognition of descent. There were many discussions on this subject, but unfortunately no majority could be found to resolve this issue. However, in practice, there are many dog couples who have and raise children and there is not yet a single study that shows that it goes wrong with children raised by dog couples or that those children get less affection or are less well raised. On the contrary, individuals who explicitly choose to educate children in such relationships have thought well about it and make a well-informed choice.

Not only marriage is thus regarded as the only and blissful form of society. In addition to marriage, there are other valuable forms of society, and that choice must remain the same. If, however, we had chosen not to open the marriage and to extend the social contract as it existed, then there would have been again an explicit discrimination and an explicit difference made.

The opening of marriage with the rights and duties associated with it is a very clear signal that this purple-green government wanted to give to the cave community, clearly indicating that from now on relations between cave and heterosexual couples are valued in the same way. We are convinced that in the next legislature the minds will be matured, in the sense that there will be arrangements for children of such couples, which has not yet been achieved.

For all these reasons, the Green Group will gladly approve this design. This is a green program.

Daniel Bacquelaine MR

Mr. Speaker, Mr. Minister, dear colleagues, the bill that is presented to us today opening marriage to persons of the same sex has aroused many debates in all spheres of society. Both citizens and experts or those who see themselves as such and politicians have spoken out on this controversial topic.

Before considering the question itself, I would like, as the chairman of the group, to make some general considerations about the debate that is taking place in our House.

The arguments put forward in favor or against this bill deserve, in my opinion, to be heard, understood and appreciated. Some are tempted to present this debate as being that of homophobia. For us, of course, this is not the case. They would also be tempted to consider the opening of marriage to homosexual couples as the symbol of homosexual recognition. It seems to me that addressing the debate in these terms is reductive and presents the danger of stigmatizing and presenting as homophobic anyone who would issue critical ideas on this bill. Therefore, I call for tolerance and everyone’s listening.

Today, the whole of my group intends to reaffirm its opposition to any discrimination based on gender, whether positive or negative. It is necessary to eliminate all discrimination between cohabitants of different sex, cohabitants of the same sex and married couples. Everyone is free and fundamentally free to be what he is. We can only understand the claims expressed by homosexual movements, claims that rise against family, social and professional exclusion; ultimately, claims that tend to the right to recognition.

As legislators, we must — I think — defend the neutrality of the state. A neutral state is a state that must consider the behavior of each in respect of his freedom and his choice of life.

The question we are asking today is difficult. It overturns certain ideas and changes, it must be agreed, the traditional conception of the family structure. The choice that must be made affects each of us in his life, his education and his history. The MR group therefore decided that the issue of same-sex marriage is an ethical issue on which each of us will vote based on their own beliefs. by

I would like to address the arguments for and against this bill, arguments that, depending on the weight each gives them, will determine the position of each of the members of the group.

First of all, I think it is necessary to question the role of the legislator. Many criticisms have been issued against the opinion of the State Council that seems to want to fiddle the institution of marriage in its traditional conception. Is it not the role of the legislator to change an institution if it seems to him that this change meets a need of society? And to answer this question, it is therefore necessary to analyze this need for society.

In recent years, there has been a significant evolution in mentalities, in the concept of marriage itself, but also in the perception of homosexuality. The notion of marriage has, in recent years, greatly evolved in its acceptance. However, it must be agreed, our Civil Code has only very little adapted to this new concept.

As an example, we can refer to the problem of divorce, intrinsically linked to marriage. Divorce is less and less perceived as a sanction but as a cure. When insurmountable difficulties arise within the couple, the society now accepts separation. It no longer seems reasonable to impose on one spouse the persistence of inclination towards the other. And yet, it must be said, our legislation has not yet incorporated this conceptual change. The judiciary seems to make it even more painful, by the complexity and slowness of the procedures, by the constraints it imposes, which is already a turmoil in a life.

The question of the evolution of marriage is not new, but today it is raised in new terms. The traditional conception recalled by the State Council defines the legal figure of marriage as being the union between a man and a woman.

The stability of the relations necessary for filiation is thus preserved. This design responds to an idea of the family in the broad sense, including succession and name transmission needs. The institution of marriage thus fundamentally integrates the needs of filiation. by

Today, the bill presents us with a radically different idea of marriage. This would become, in fact, a relationship between two persons whose primary purpose is the creation of a community of sustainable life and the public affirmation of this relationship. We can also note, in recent years, beyond this evolution in the conception of marriage, an evolution in the perception of homosexuality itself by society. For a long time, it should be remembered, society has condemned homosexuality, the sciences have even classified it among mental illnesses. Over the past ten years, mentalities have evolved. The issue is becoming increasingly taboo, especially among young people. Homosexuality has a different image. Stability, loyalty and homosexuality are no longer considered incompatible. A recurring question arises here in these terms: should the legislator intervene in phase with the evolution of society and even precede it? It seems to me that, on the issue of opening up marriage to same-sex couples, the ideas within society have evolved sharply. Furthermore, it should also be emphasized that the legislator can stimulate this evolution by arousing debate, allowing understanding and thus acceptance of ethical change. It therefore seems to me necessary that the legislator intervene to grant homosexual couples a protection equivalent and comparable to the protection that a heterosexual couple can have. by

Having established the legitimacy of the intervention of the legislator, it is now necessary to question the best way to legislate. I think we can answer this by asking two questions. by

The first question we must ask ourselves is whether the same legal protection should be granted to all couples, whether they are heterosexual or homosexual. To this question, I can, without a doubt, answer by the affirmative. European Parliament resolutions have been in this direction since 1994. The second question is whether it is necessary to open marriage to same-sex couples or whether the goal of equality can be achieved by another way. This is where the positions differ.

The choice presented must be considered both in its legal dimension and in its political dimension. Let me first look at the legal aspect.

Hearing was held in the Senate. We have become aware of it. I think it is necessary to assess also on the legal level the consequences that will entail the adoption of this bill. The question of the opening of marriage cannot be dissociated from the question of filiation and adoption since our Civil Code presents filiation as one of the effects of marriage.

The MR expresses reservations regarding access to adoption by homosexual couples. Unlike marriage that involves only two consenting adult persons, who have made a choice of life, adoption and filiation involve a third person, the child. The consequences still unknown to this day on the balance of the child lead us to conclude that one cannot, at present, expose a child to certain potential difficulties. It is obviously not here to talk about the educational or affective capacity of these couples but we refer to some studies that evoke fears about the psychological balance relating to the child’s identity and its perception by the outside world.

The controversy is still dense on this subject. We believe that there are still many unknowns and that therefore a cautious attitude should be observed.

Bart Laeremans VB

I am pleased to note that you are still cautious in the case of gay adoption. Is that the position of the whole party? I had understood that there was an agreement between the majority parties of the entire purple-green government to submit a bill on gay adoption, either in the House or in the Senate. It is clear that the MR is not involved in this, or maybe in the Senate? Can I know, please?

Daniel Bacquelaine MR

From the time when the government’s will was to exclude the dimension of procreation and adoption, some experts criticized the option that consisted of opening marriage to homosexual couples. Although this option has a considerable symbolic character, many legal experts, including State Council advisors, believe that there is a risk of compromising legal consistency.

It would not be consistent, in their view, to create two types of marriages under the same vocabulary, namely the marriage consecrated by heterosexual couples to which the rules relating to filiation apply, whereas these would be excluded from the marriage contracted by homosexual couples.

I think we cannot keep silent the criticisms made by both the State Council and some experts, while they propose an alternative solution. The solution that could have presented legal coherence would have been, they say, to create a new institution that would consecrate the union of two persons of the same sex and that would subject them to all provisions of the legal status of marriage, with the exception of provisions on filiation. This new institution could have been called for some "partnership", for others "PACS", as in France.

Another inconsistency is often raised and it cannot leave us indifferent. This is discrimination against children. For years, the legislator has strived to put all children on an equal footing, regardless of the situation of their parents, natural or legitimate children.

By adopting this bill, we risk creating a new discrimination between children educated by a married gay couple, on the one hand, and children educated by a married heterosexual couple, on the other. Indeed, the child educated by a gay couple is a reality that we must take into account.

It is not about contradicting the words I have made about childbirth and adoption by homosexual couples, but simply to argue that the adoption of this bill may involve further discrimination against children. It would therefore be essential to re-examine the entire legal system in this regard. It seems to me that we must move towards the protection of all children, whether they are educated by married parents or not. A common status, protecting the interests of each child, could therefore be established.

This solution should allow the youth judge to have exclusive jurisdiction regarding the person, food and property of the child. I would like to recall here that we have already partially formulated this proposal within the framework of the bill reforming the adoption filed by MR.

The legal aspect must be taken into account. As politicians, we also have to decide on the political coherence of the bill.

I believe that the opening of marriage to homosexual couples corresponds to my conception of freedom and therefore of liberalism. In fact, the state must be able to offer citizens the most favorable tools for their development. In this case, the state offers an additional freedom that does not harm anyone. It is not for this reason that the State favors this type of union, but it offers a little more freedom for a category of people, without however compromising the freedom of others.

The opening of marriage to homosexual couples responds to this philosophy of freedom, in that it does not harm any other person. Instead, it helps improve the rights of homosexuals.

In conclusion, Mr. Speaker, Mr. Minister, Dear Colleagues, I find it appropriate to grasp the progress that is presented to us today, regardless of the imperfections of this law, and which goes towards a better recognition of homosexual couples.

This bill does not, however, open the right to adoption and therefore concerns only the free choice of two responsible adults. Therefore, while giving each member of the group the freedom to vote, for my part, I will vote in favour of the bill.

Servais Verherstraeten CD&V

Mr. Speaker, Mr. Minister, colleagues, as CD&V we have always been in favour of sustainable relationships and have always encouraged them. Likewise, our party defends the opening of marriage for same-sex couples. Such couples also deserve a lasting commitment to obtaining public translation. In fact, it is a logical consequence that this is legally framed and that this relationship is also protected by the government. Their

Colleagues, in society, in the Senate in the first place, now also in the Chamber and — we acknowledge that — in our party there has been a lot of discussion on this topic. I think this is good because that discussion was necessary to support this future new law. The discussion has only demonstrated the importance our society attaches to marriage. We realize that many will have difficulty with this legislation. We are convinced that their point of view actually also came from the care and commitment to the values of marriage. A legislator should be cautious when legislating about relational feelings; when promulgating laws regarding privacy and intimate relationships. On the other hand, a legislator should also pay attention to the signals in our society.

As Christian Democrats, colleagues, we as a party will do everything we can to continue to support marriage in good and bad times. We will continue to defend the marriage, which we have always defended, in the future. This will also apply to same-sex marriages.

This design has no impact on descent and adoption. This is also the position of our party because we experience that otherwise the difference between the biological reality and the legal law would be too big.

This, however, does not mean in any way that we believe that dog couples would not be able to educate children, on the contrary. I think the reality of 2003 shows this too. Many children find nest heat in families of holebik pairs, fortunately. Those children also deserve legal protection, but this does not apply only to caterpillars. Also heterosexual couples are sometimes confronted with the problem that there is a difference between the biological reality, the sociological reality and the legal reality, that the biological parent differs from the legal parent, which in turn differs again from the actual parent.

Our solution for this is for all couples where those problems arise, the caregiving. Therefore, we have already submitted a bill on this subject some time ago, which, in our opinion, offers a broader answer than opening adoption for caterpillar couples. As a family party, we will continue to work with our group in the coming months and in the upcoming legislature — whether from the opposition or from the majority — for better protection and better status of children of cattle couples and continue to follow the dossier closely. It’s about children who deserve protection, it’s about connection, it’s about sustainability. These are important values in our society.

Karine Lalieux PS | SP

Mr. Speaker, Mr. Minister, dear colleagues, for the Socialist Group, this is an important moment, an important dossier and we will of course vote this bill collectively.

This bill has a very important symbolic value but also constitutes an important signal, not only for society as a whole but also and above all to the homosexual community. Thus we create not an obligation but rather a freedom, a freedom of choice. This is where the importance of the project lies. It is that every woman or every man can freely choose and assume their personal choices through legal provisions offered to them. This is the role of the legislator: to offer legal provisions that respect the choice of life of everyone.

It is also the fact that one does not create a particular institution for a particular group. It is true that during the previous legislature, the socialists had attempted to pass the legal cohabitation contract which has been wiped out of its meaning by parties that will vote today on the same-sex marriage. We are pleased that today a Christian party votes this bill. We are also very happy that there is no stigmatisation and that a community can come to marriage and be seen opening the marriage without a stigmatisation that seemed unacceptable to us.

Greta D'hondt CD&V

I am somewhat surprised that you should rejoice at the fact that a Christian party approves this. What is Christianity different than human understanding and tolerance, Mrs?

Karine Lalieux PS | SP

I’m not saying that, Madame D’Hondt. I am happy that today you voted for this bill, while, during the previous legislature, the legal cohabitation contract had been wiped out of its meaning since the rights that arose from it were not the whole of the rights that arose from marriage. That is all I said. by

I also believe that this is ending discrimination in the continuation of the vote on the anti-discrimination law and this is also an important asset. It is also a recognition and a new sign of tolerance towards a community that has long experienced humiliation and discrimination. However, despite the joy of this moment, I have some regrets. The first concerns the opinion of the State Council, a opinion that has been of moral order, of ideological order, rather than legal. I believe that the State Council has, therefore, exceeded its powers. What is sad and even damaging is that this opinion will remain in our annals. I remind some members of the State Council that marriage is first and foremost a public confirmation of a relationship of love, of a relationship of solidarity between two persons, that children are now born outside the marriage and that gay families have children today. by

My second regret is ⁇ more fundamental and relates to the problem of filiation that we have already talked about.

Indeed, today we can say — and everyone says — that through this vote we will end discrimination. But, in parallel, I have the impression that we are approving another discrimination because we do not allow the rights of filiation and, yesterday, we did not allow the opening of adoption to homosexual couples. This situation is regrettable because it does not fully clarify the message towards the homosexual community and also distorts the signal we are giving to society today.

Now, and this was already said last week when we voted on adoption, this is to deny the reality. Many children are now raised by couples of men and women. This can also lead to more than dramatic situations. Today, as yesterday during the adoption vote, we maintain a flagrant hypocrisy attitude since one person alone can adopt and that a gay couple — who declares themselves gay — will not be able to adopt. Again, I think that what should prevail in these debates is the child’s interest, it is his affective stability and not the sexual orientation of the parents.

Like the ECOLO-AGALEV group, I hope that very soon, in the next legislature — I don’t think this will still be possible in this legislature — we will open the debate on filiation to protect, above all, children but also to recognize parental situations.

I have another regret regarding the problem of marrying a person with a nationality other than the Belgian nationality. I also think that we could have made a bigger progress. Therefore, Mr. Minister, we are looking forward to the Code of International Private Law, about which you said that you would resolve the problem of marriage of same-sex couples with persons of different nationalities. Again, we look forward to this vote today.

Bart Laeremans VB

Mr. Speaker, Mr. Minister, dear colleagues, over the past 100 years there has been a major evolution in homosexuality. In a not so distant past, homophilia was abolished as a disease that needs to be cured. Many refused to accept this other orientation. Worse, there has been a dark period in which homosexuals had to be stigmatized on the streets and were systematically persecuted and liquidated. Fortunately, there has been a long way since then. Today there is a fairly general consensus of acceptance, it is commonly advocated for human integration and for respectful treatment. Their

However, there is more. The slinger has gone in the opposite direction in recent years. Today we are experiencing the opposite of before. Anyone who dares to criticize certain excessive behaviors, the exuberant promotion or the provocative exhibitionism during the famous homostotes falls on the fire. An aggressive lobby has mastered the debate and dictates us how to think about this phenomenon. Anyone who does not think like this homolobby is immediately depicted as conservative and reactionary.

Kristien Grauwels Groen

Mr. Speaker, I would like to respond to the way Mr. Laeremans speaks about homosexuals. He narrows the image to the stunts that are organized on Pink Saturday. Their

Mr. Laeremans, on the one hand, you claim that tolerance and equality have increased and that the mentality towards holebi has changed, on the other hand, you have clearly emphasized in the committee that you reject the campaigns conducted by the Flemish Ministers of Education and Welfare to raise awareness about and raise awareness about sexual orientation especially among young people. How do you combine that with each other?

Bart Laeremans VB

I will return to the campaigns later.

Mrs. Grauwels, I am ⁇ not narrowing the problem to the pink stunts. on the contrary.

Kristien Grauwels Groen

Mr. Laeremans, you are reducing the holebi community to the pink stunts.

Bart Laeremans VB

Not at all, Mrs. Grauwels. You did not listen well. I have begun by saying that there is a general consensus of acceptance and that there is a general advocacy for human integration and respectful treatment. This is the first approach of the Flemish Block. This approach, however, does not prevent us from shooting, the exhibitionism we see walking through the streets and rejecting the gay carnival. I think I should have that right. That you argue that I can express myself negatively about this, I already find it difficult. That was exactly my position. There is a dictatorial atmosphere that makes any criticism impossible and marginalized. I cannot deal with that. I will return to the campaigns later. Mr. Speaker, Mr. Minister, I take the thread of my speech again. Anyone who does not think like the homolobby is immediately depicted as a conservative, a reactionary. Worse, one is portrayed as someone who is intolerant or homophobic, as someone who discriminates and since the adoption of the disastrous, totalitarian, anti-discrimination law of Onkelinx is criminalized for his opinion. We have held this debate. Ms. Onkelinx’s anti-discrimination law contains very important totalitarian tendencies that prohibit expressing certain opinions.

A ⁇ hilarious example of this is the recent awarding of the Homofobia Prize to no one less than Danny Smagghe of the VLD. Who is Danny Smagghe? Smagghe is a brave and friendly provincial council member from Flemish-Brabant, more specifically from Dilbeek. A few years ago he moved from the rather dictatorial Agalev to the VLD. A few months ago he spoke in a rather negative sense about same-sex marriage and about adoption by gay couples. He was immediately banned. The painful thing, however, is that Smagghe himself has been openly advocating his homosexuality for years and has also advocated the interests of this group. He apparently did not go far enough. Suddenly, he was also cataloged as a homophobic, as someone who is thought to hate himself. Fortunately, that brave man managed to catch it with some humor.

Politically correct thinking goes a long way. It goes with purple-green today even so far that schools are urged by government to promote homosexuality. We are no longer in the stage where children are taught to respect otherwise grounded fellow people.

Fred Erdman Vooruit

Mr. Laeremans, read again the first sentences of your speech, for now you go back in time and place a stigma on the homosexuals. (Applause of Applause)

Bart Laeremans VB

Mr. Erdman, that is cheap, but it is exactly the opposite. This campaign goes much further. You don’t know that campaign, you just have to read it, because it goes much further. The French-speaking members cannot know them, because it takes place in the Flemish schools and is an initiative of the Flemish government. It goes far beyond merely showing respect, because then we would ⁇ have no problem with it. Now, however, it is assumed that fifteen, fourteen, thirteen, and twelve-year-olds already know it all, and that they simply have to choose as if they were in front of a drinking machine, while they still do not know what or how. I understand that the Greens find this annoying, because it is a campaign of Mrs Vogels.

Geert Versnick Open Vld

Mr. Speaker, colleagues, the

The way colleague Laeremans talks about this shows that the first sentences of his speech were only "pour les besoins de la cause". He is the fox that preaches the passion. At the moment when we talk about measures that actually make that integration possible, explaining to children that there are boys and girls who think differently and are different, that is suddenly promotion and it is removed as a advertisement for Coca-Cola. I find this scandalous and the Parliament unworthy.

Bart Laeremans VB

Colleague Versnick, read the campaign carefully. Read what one goes for and what one promotes in it, then you cannot claim the opposite. But well, thanks to the good care of VLD Minister Vanderpoorten, the worst Minister of Education that Flanders has ever had, the Week of Diversity begins in schools in a few days. Not only homosexuality but also bisexuality is promoted: "Fladder once from man to man," so it sounds. Whether you’re lesbian, gay or bi, it’s all about the moment. This is done by an age group that is very uncertain in this area, which has a lot of questions about its own development and its own identity. This kind of campaign only increases the uncertainty among young people and creates even more confusion.

Well, we, from the Flemish Bloc, consider that this is not the task of the schools and even less of the government. Learning to respect the other, of course, is. Recruiting and promoting for gay and bisexuality is a bridge too far for us. But if we think so, we are apparently already unworthy of a parliament.

This is why we are not in favour of opening up marriage for gay couples. It is not our task, not the task of the legislator and of the government, to push forward a new model to give that way of life the status of a general social example to be pursued and promoted. It will only make the confusion, the uncertainty in many people even greater.

Second, the whole debate today is based on a false starting principle. It is not at all that the exclusivity of marriage for heterosexual couples constitutes discrimination. But, of course, it is very easy to imagine things like this. For as soon as one tells his political opponent that he discriminates, one cuts that opponent’s mouth, because discrimination is nowadays, as you all know, punishable. Whoever dares to say that he has a different view, commits a crime and therefore must fit his counts. Thus, the debate is not only falsified, it is made impossible. This is, of course, a very comfortable situation for the supporters, who have won in advance.

Again, this discussion is not about discrimination at all. Discrimination can only be spoken of when people in equal situations are treated differently and when the distinction cannot be objectively and reasonably justified. In the light of the general interest, the State Council stated in this file, the situation of a gay couple is not the same as that of a heterosexual couple. VUB professor Joachim Gerlo rightly said in this regard that the social future perspective is lacking. Indeed, it is impossible for a gay couple to have children together, and that remains a basic given in the debate about marriage. Marriage is always...

President Herman De Croo

Mrs De Meyer and Mrs Lalieux wish to interrupt you.

Magda De Meyer Vooruit

Mr. Speaker, if I have well understood Mr. Laeremans, marriage is a way of reproducing. This is clearly the vision of the Flemish Bloc: marriage serves to reproduce itself. Two people of the same sex cannot love each other. This is something completely different from two people of different sex who love each other. These two things are, according to the Flemish Block, absolutely incomparable.

Bart Laeremans VB

This is a caricature that you make of it. That is total nonsense.

President Herman De Croo

Mrs. Lalieux wanted to interrupt you.

Karine Lalieux PS | SP

Mr. Laeremans, if I understand you correctly, there is no social future for all couples without children. That’s what you just said! Interesting as a situation. So, a couple who loves each other affectionately, affectively, etc. This is not a social couple.

You just said that there was no social future for couples without children, is that what you said?

Bart Laeremans VB

I only quoted Joachim Gerlo, professor at the VUB. Neither I nor Professor Gerlo say that these people have no future. That would be quite extensive. The professor talks about a social future perspective. So that is something wider than the future of the two involved.

Mrs. De Meyer, you are making a caricature of it. Of course, we do not say that these people cannot love each other. People of different or same sex can love each other. We have never claimed otherwise. I do not understand where you get that.

I will go deeper into it. Marriage has always been much more than just a arrangement, a relationship and property obligation between two people. Those who have a little notion of our civil law know that marriage is a protected and a protective institution. It is the basic cell and bakermat of our society. Within that marriage, life is passed on to a new generation. In marriage, children are given the utmost possible protection. This is not only in our law. This concept of marriage is also the concept in all possible international treaties. Whatever it turns or turns, descent is today in our legislation an essential feature of marriage. Why are there other marriage disturbances? Why does the law otherwise prohibit a mother and a son, a father and a daughter, a brother and a sister, from marrying each other? Professor Renchon rightly stated during the hearings that marriage, according to our right, is much more than a relationship between a couple. It is the social and legal organization of a lasting relationship between a man and a woman and of the place where a child is taken care of whose descent is established along the father-mother side. According to the professor, marriage concerns both the spouse and the parent couple.

Today this essential characteristic of marriage is denied. It seems to us that we have begun a demolition operation. The marriage is reduced to a story of two people. The rest is artificially separated from this story. This inevitably results in a fundamental decay and degradation of marriage. Sooner or later this threatens to end with the complete disconnection of marriage and descent. The arguments for this are already known. Again, one will swing with all kinds of invented and alleged discrimination. Eventually, there will be an identical, uniform descent system for both married and cohabitating persons. So today’s debate is much more important and much more fundamental than it seems.

For this reason, we absolutely do not understand that a party such as CD&V, which has always acted as a family party, has entirely allowed itself to participate in this file with the current. Mr. Tony Van Parys has very rightly pointed out in the committee the fundamental transformation that is taking place today in our law. He also pointed out the entirely new meaning given to marriage. After all, marriage becomes an element of self-development, self-realization and self-determination. It is no longer considered the basic cell for society building. Unfortunately, Mr. Tony Van Parys spoke in the committee in his personal name. His party is hopelessly divided in this matter. Mr. De Clerck no longer dares to resist the call of political correctness. This is ⁇ regrettable. After all, if CD&V had simply been led by common sense and by the land flow in the Flemish society, rather than by a random majority in a congress committee, then the rejection front would have been much stronger today. A powerful and unanimous CD&V could have contributed to raising doubts among the liberals, just like yesterday in the file of the naming.

CD&V has, by the way, rolled this file in a ⁇ naive way. She had agreed in the Senate to approve the same-sex marriage. That support was important. There was no consensus among the French-speaking senators. CD&V agreed on the condition that adoption by gay couples would be excluded. This condition was quickly accepted. However, even before the "thing" in the Senate plenary session was approved, the purple-green parties broke their word. Minister Verwilghen announced in the House an agreement between the six majority parties to make adoption by gay couples still legally possible. Despite this public humiliation, CD&V persisted in its naivety and approved the texts well.

For the Flemish Bloc, this part of the story also remains a very important reason to oppose gay marriage. Everything suggests that opening the marriage itself is not the real goal of the lobby behind this operation. The real goal, the real ultimate goal, is gay adoption. From now on, we will do everything possible to realize this as soon as possible. If today the same-sex marriage is instituted with the grounds of the so-called discrimination, then tomorrow, a fortiori, one will fulminate with the same argument against the inequality in matters of adoption as provided by this law. Their

The same persons who will soon pass this law will declare tomorrow, under the pressure of the homolobby with a poker face, that the inequalities that are now built up constitute a shameful discrimination. This has already been said by Mrs. Lalieux and it has now been confirmed again by Mrs. De Meyer. Mrs. De Meyer, therefore, you are going to pass a law that contains a shameful discrimination. Okay, so do them well. However, you are not consistent. Their

The Flemish Bloc insists that adoption should remain reserved for heterosexual couples, in particular for the best interests of the child. An adopted child does not grow up in its natural environment with its own father and mother. It is therefore in a precarious and vulnerable situation. Many children who learn at an early or later age that they have not been raised by their own parents are experiencing a long-term identity crisis. Especially for these youths, for adopted youths, the Flemish Bloc demands the right to a father and a mother, the right to an environment that is as close as possible to the natural parent-child relationship.

Jef Valkeniers Open Vld

Mr. Laeremans, what do you do with all those single-parent families where a mother or a father raises the child or the children alone?

Bart Laeremans VB

It is precisely for the adopted children who have not grown up with one of their own real parents that we say that there must be a father and a mother. Make a situation that fits as closely as possible with your own environment.

Jef Valkeniers Open Vld

Why should it? That is not necessary.

Bart Laeremans VB

Is it not necessary? You say it is not necessary.

Jef Valkeniers Open Vld

There have been plenty of studies showing that children raised by gay couples do not suffer damage and can also develop harmoniously.

Geert Versnick Open Vld

Mr. Speaker, colleagues, for those scandalous campaigns that Mr. Laeremans talks about have been conducted in schools, before one has convinced children that being different on the sexual level does not have to be a rejection, but that it is simply a different from the majority of the group and that they can perfectly engage in that, there have been very many people who have thrown it away. This happened during the period that Mr. Laeremans describes as the ideal period. They removed it. They are married at some point against their nature. They gave birth to children. Only at a later age, at the moment they saw that it was socially acceptable, they dared to reveal their real orientation. They broke their relationship at that moment. Those children are there, Mr. Laeremans. What are you going to do with that? Are you going to hang them on a hook? Are you going to hang them on a hook?

Bart Laeremans VB

Colleague Versnick, you are advocating that these children should go away. We do not say that at all.

Geert Versnick Open Vld

I suggest giving them the possibility to accommodate them in a family.

Bart Laeremans VB

Those kids are there. Everyone acknowledges that. The debate is not about that.

Magda De Meyer Vooruit

Mr. Speaker, I find it unbelievable that Mr. Laeremans continues to advocate marriage as an institution that serves solely for the sake of reproduction, which has nothing to do with love. I am tired of talking about raising children in a natural environment where for him the natural environment is equal to a heteromilion. A hole environment is therefore d'office an unnatural environment. I am so tired of all these unacceptable discriminatory statements. This is unacceptable in Parliament. Finally, I just don’t understand it. I just don’t understand. I thought you also had children. I don’t understand how one child can be more valuable to you than the other.

President Herman De Croo

Mrs. De Meyer, in this Parliament everything can be said. It is never unacceptable for Parliament. You can judge as you want, but here the freedom of speech remains.

Bart Laeremans VB

Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased with the statements of Mrs. De Meyer. They perfectly demonstrate what I started with, in particular that there is indeed a terror climate of politically correct thinking where people who have divergent opinions on such subjects are directly criminalized. You say that I discriminate and that I am therefore guilty of a criminal offence because discrimination has recently been criminalized. You say you are tired of what I say here. These are terms that really betray you as someone who is very totalitarian. I find it very, very extensive what you say. However, I am pleased that you do it because it has brought your attitude fully out. You also distort my words. You say that I value one child more than the other. That is absolutely not true, on the contrary, I only say that adoption — and that is about the rights of parents and the relationship between adopters and children — should not be legally permitted for gay couples. Adoptive children are just children who are in a very precarious situation. An adopted child is not to be envious. He does not live with his own parents, with his own father and his own mother. We believe that precisely for such children the possibility must remain, the right to a father and a mother must continue to exist, which indeed corresponds to the natural environment. This has nothing to do with natural thinking, it is just the reality. I do not know if it is necessary to explain this to you, but it seems to be obvious to me.

Fred Erdman Vooruit

I have two comments, and these are the last I have to make. I refer to your introductory sentences. You should read it again and test your own statements on it. First, we are talking about people, not a theoretical model.

Bart Laeremans VB

of course .

Fred Erdman Vooruit

We are talking about people. Second, we are not talking about adoption.

Bart Laeremans VB

Yet yes.

Fred Erdman Vooruit

That is a file that we have dealt with here during the adoption legislation in which, unfortunately, many excluded the adoption by caterpillar couples. Some say that for them this is a program point for the future but today, in this text, there is no talk of adoption. So stop all your comments on a topic that has nothing to do with it. In addition, you, along with others, have always accepted that a child can be adopted by one person. Let me explain your entire theory before an adoption by one person. But that will be done in the debate about adoption.

Bart Laeremans VB

Mr. Erdman, there is still a difference and an adoption by one person has, by the way, existed for a very long time. Homosexual couples have never been allowed to do so. Adoption services do not give children to gay couples. It is also not accepted internationally. The countries of origin do not accept homosexual adoption. That is why there is a risk that there will be fewer adopted children.

You say the debate is not about adoption. This is of course the case, and for two reasons. First, this law creates a new distinction. It is said that heterosexual couples are allowed to adopt while it is excluded for the others. The debate is therefore about it. In addition, we still have the freedom of speech here, which allows us to comment on such matters. Their

Secondly, the whole story of same-sex marriage is the stepping stone towards gay adoption. This was confirmed by all the other speakers. Several other speakers have said that the next step is to eliminate this new discrimination. This is the issue, and I have the right to talk about it.

In matters of adoption, not the needs and desires of the prospective adopters should be at the centre, but rather the basic interests and rights of the child. Colleagues, even after these texts have become law, we will not simply settle to the situation. We will do our best to abolish this law. I also believe that there will come a day when we will succeed. Of course, at that time, one will come up with the cheap argument that in the meantime several dozen or hundreds of gay couples will have used the scheme so that those people would be deprived of something by a legislative change. That is not our responsibility. You are responsible for the dispersion that is being done there today and those people will therefore have to turn to you.

By the way, I would like to point out that with your same-sex marriage you create a lot of false expectations in the people involved. Abroad, their status is not recognized and that will only lead to painful frustrations. Thus, it will be perfectly possible for someone who marries here with someone of the same sex abroad to enter into a new marriage without dissolving the first. Who thinks that we are pioneers and that the other countries in Europe and the world will follow our bright example in the long run, that dumb.

Hugo Coveliers Open Vld

Mr. Laeremans, I do not mind that you are ventilating some theories here, but you must not say manifest errors. If the Belgian law accepts marriage between persons of the same kind and two persons marry, they can no longer legally marry abroad without the dissolution of that marriage. If you want to get married abroad, you will have to submit a statement proving that you are unmarried according to staff law. You will not be able to submit that statement because you are married according to the employee law. What you say will not be possible. You will also find this in the brochure that the Netherlands has issued following the legislation in question. The brochure warned about this system. If one marries in the Netherlands or Belgium, one will first have to divorce — for the time being still divorce with fault burden if there is no mutual consent — and only then one will be able to enter into a new — possibly heterophile — marriage.

Bart Laeremans VB

I doubt that. That is a vision. I think it is possible that this will be taken into account in certain countries, but I have the greatest possible doubts about it.

Hugo Coveliers Open Vld

This is the essence of the

International Private Law. The question is not whether that country will take this into account. If you do so, you are guilty of bigamy and then you are punishable in Belgium.

Bart Laeremans VB

We will undoubtedly return to this debate later. In any case, I had another sentence to close. This law is not a good law, neither for the population concerned nor for society.

President Herman De Croo

I give you the following list: Mrs. De Meyer, Mrs. Genot, Mrs. Van Weert, Mr. Valkeniers, Mr. Maingain and Mr. Versnick. Their

Chairman: Jean-Pol Henry The President: Jean-Pol Henry

Magda De Meyer Vooruit

Mr. Speaker, Mr. Minister, colleagues, my presentation will actually be very short. I always keep short presentations when I am very happy. I am very pleased that after years of parliamentary discussion, after years of baking, after years of re-submitting and re-submitting proposals, there is finally a breakthrough for the many couples waiting for this draft.

The same-sex marriage is an important symbol for the cave community that they can finally live together in a full way, that they finally get the chance to confirm their commitment to each other through a real marriage. In my opinion, the legislator must do everything to support and encourage people who really want to take care of each other in our society, in our sometimes cold society. and a citation. “We were both 21 when we met and fell in love. It was a mutual once in a lifetime. Since then, no day has passed that we were not together or missed each other. Meanwhile, this is more than 18 years ago. We built our lives like other couples do. We went to live together, we built a house and got a child, but we didn’t get married because we couldn’t. We are two women.” This is the reality that a lot of dogs have to deal with.

We have, I think, during the many debates that we have devoted to it and also just heard a little bit of the enormous prejudices and the murderers with which the debates were proclaimed. To name a few: the same-sex marriage would be an outbreak of the marriage. What a shit! However, the commitment that two people engage in each other is not devalued because two other people of the same sex also want to engage in such commitment. Why would the sincere and deep love of two people be different, depending on their gender? Why should the love between a man and a woman weigh more than the love between a man and a man or a woman and a woman? Who has the criteria for such things? Or another murderer: yes, let them live together, but do not call it marriage! What a discriminatory judgment! If there are the same rights and duties, why should it have a different name? Or another murderer: yes, they have chosen themselves, so they have to be consistent. What an outdated image of holebi! Suppose you are heterosexual. Do you choose to become gay or lesbian? Probably not. Who would choose to belong to a minority that is still discriminated and still socially treated as inferior? Young people struggle with their homosexuality precisely because this is not presented as an ideal in our society. Another murderer: it would be inappropriate. People who make such statements—we have just heard of them—should urgently follow up with their time. Homosexuality was a stigma. It is over that homosexuality was a reason to keep people away in camps. In fact, it is inappropriate to talk about it.

I would like to quote Professor Heyvaert — many others have been quoted here — who is an important authority for me. He answers the question that there is no reason to keep civil marriage closed for same-sex partners, which brings individualization, atomization and unification into our society. In such a society, solidarity between individuals should be encouraged. There is therefore no reason to reserve the civil marriage which is the institution of this social security to persons of different sexes. A father must also take care of his son. This is also a relationship of inter-individual solidarity with someone of the same sex. It is too absurd to think that marriage would only serve for reproduction. Reproduction is something completely different from parenting. Reproduction is a biological event, parenting is a social relationship. This is the matter for us.

We believe that the same-sex marriage is taking an important step forward. You are right when you say we think it’s not going far enough. Everyone knows that as a party we wanted to go all the way. If you allow people to marry, it is all too foolish to pretend that there are no children from previous relationships, as if there is no child desire. That child wish, by the way, is usually only realized after many wheels and roads. Holebi’s are usually ⁇ responsible parents. It is a missed opportunity not to take care of the children. This is not in the best interests of the child. It is unacceptable that co-mothers and co-fathers have no legal relationship with the child they care for on a daily basis. It is unacceptable that children in the hole relationships are not eligible for, for example, the hospitalization insurance on the work of the midwife. It is unacceptable and blasphemous that children are not invited to the Sinterklaas party at the work of the mother-in-law because they would not exist by office.

For us as socialists, same-sex marriage is a first step for which we have fought for years. It was then Luc Van den Bossche, now fin-de-carrière, then a young Turk, who was the flamboyant defender of gay rights in Parliament. We have had to wait for a purple-green breakthrough to realize this battle point of the socialists, because of the cold-water fear of the Christian Democrats. I am very happy that they are now willing to support the same-sex marriage. I am very pleased that there is clearly more and more support within the group to manage the children as well. For us, same-sex marriage is an important step towards eliminating discrimination against holebi. It therefore fits into our party’s purpose of existence, namely to create equal opportunities for all. As for the SP.A, we will fully support this design. Adoption is at the top of our wish list. It becomes a battle point for the next government deal so that the legislator finally recognizes the children of holebi as real children and ensures that their parents can take care of them all the way.

Zoé Genot Ecolo

Mr. Speaker, Mr. Minister, today the Ecolo-Agalev Group is ⁇ satisfied. by

This opening of the marriage makes us happy. Indeed, the opening of this symbolic institution is primary as a signal sent to our society, indicating that gay and lesbian couples are, today, full-fledged couples, whatever some think. The opening of the institution of marriage, which still symbolizes the couple in the collective unconscious — even though fewer and fewer people are committed in this direction — seems to me an important signal.

The gay and lesbian couple is thus recognized as a full-fledged couple, I said, and can, therefore, begin to negotiate true social knowledge according to their desire. More and more, married or not, the same-sex couple will be recognized. This signal is therefore addressed to the whole of society and will allow, I hope, a real evolution of mentalities towards more tolerance with regard to difference. The vote on this bill helps to dedicate a positive evolution in our society towards a real welcome of these gay and lesbian couples.

This evolution is noted even within the former PSC, who, though passionate about the evolution of the family, is not present today. I am not used to make polemics, but I would still like to address the CDH. Thus, throughout the last legislature, he has done everything to prevent the vote of a real contract. And now that the bill opening gay and lesbian marriage is being discussed in Parliament, he continues to say that a contract would be needed and that, in order to do so, he is ready for anything. If Mr. Arens expressed his opposition to marriage, believed that a new legal cohabitation pact involving new rights should have been preferred to marriage and agreed that the 1998 contract has too limited legal effects. This is a remarkable development since Mr. Viseur, in 1998, believed that “the creation of a solemn membership contract, comparable to an institution such as marriage, is hardly acceptable.” We appreciate, I repeat, this evolution. I note, however, that the weak legal cohabitation contract of 1998 had to wait for the rainbow majority to be enforced. by

This highly symbolic openness will, I also hope, be able to reassure young people who are lost, overwhelmed by the discovery of their minority sexual orientation in a society that still often perceives it in a negative way. At present, this discovery is, indeed, still often very painful. You do not ignore that the suicide rate is only the tip of the iceberg of the unhappiness of these young people to find themselves in a society still too "hetero-normed". by

I hope that the opening of marriage can help these young people to project themselves into the future, to reflect on this future in terms of choice: celibacy, concubination or marriage. by

In this area, I think it is important that we have not oriented ourselves towards an institution specific to homosexuals, an institution equivalent, but with a different denomination because this would have meant the establishment of a ghetto institution that would have singularly blurred the message of a real struggle against the discriminations that the government wishes to send.

The opening of marriage is a sign of equality even though it is clear that much progress has already been made in terms of equality between married and unmarried couples. Nevertheless, a number of rights and duties remain attached to the institution of marriage itself, if the differences between spouses and cohabitants are diminishing. Thus, at the level of taxation, the tax reform will lead, in a few years to equality between married or unmarried couples; at the level of social security, the regimes are more or less identical, whether in the level of unemployment, family allowances, pensions, health. But it is true that cohabitants sometimes have to wait a period of six months to enjoy derivative rights while by marriage, the mechanism is automatic.

At the level of assistance, the schemes were also aligned. Regarding succession rights, the Regions have harmonised their rates. by

But there are still a number of differences: - specific rights and duties are attached to marriage: same residence, loyalty — even if this can make you laugh, help and assistance, contribution to household burdens, choice of a marital regime; - at the level of social security and survival pension; - when one is situated outside of a contract, one must think and think differently since a marriage contract constitutes, in some way, a "package" of rights and duties. When persons do not have the possibility to get married, in order to enjoy harmonised succession rates, they must file a contract to designate their legatar, etc.; - in matters of divorce and protection of the weakest and therefore this is an important element. The last major difference is the family reunification and the presumption of paternity. by

Let us now address these points that have sparked debate, both in the committee and today in the plenary session. by

First, children and the presumption of paternity. by

Some wanted to refuse marriage because, for them, marriage could only rime with procreation. The same often wanted to refuse parenting to same-sex couples. It can be said clearly: you will have neither marriage nor children. That would have meant playing the oysters: these couples already exist and children are already raised there! It seems a shame to the Ecolo-Agalev group to have amputated the marriage of part of its effects by reserving access to parenting only to heterosexual couples. Since children are legally born in female couples and this through insemination, this restriction increases discrimination. Studies both in Belgium and abroad show that desired and raised children in lesbian and gay couples develop normally in all aspects and experience no more problems of sexual identity, socialization or self-confidence. by Mr. Bacquelaine spoke of contradictory studies; I would be happy to be able to read them.

With this bill, we create a new inequality: in heterosexual married couples, the children who will be born will have two parents and the father will be presumed to be the second parent. In homosexual married couples, children who will be born will only have one recognized parent, the mother. This situation will inevitably create further discrimination. This incomplete character of this opening of marriage seems regrettable to us, but it is out of question to plunge into this fault to prevent this evolution. by

We see the vote on this bill as a step forward. Indeed, Ecolo hopes that the debate on parentality can take place in our assemblies and in society in general in the near future and that we can quickly consider the fragile legal situation of children who have already been born. These children benefit from a single filiation bond and therefore they are only entitled to a half family: a single couple of grandparents, etc. The second parent has no rights, either for acts of daily life (enrollment of the child in a school) or for urgent acts (such as authorization to operate). There will be no maintenance allowance for this child in case of separation, no right of visit or alternate custody. Except sometimes when a courageous judge bricks and grants an alimentary pension and a visiting right in the best interest of the child because we, legislators, have not taken our responsibilities. I’m not even talking to you about the catastrophe scenario where the only legal parent dies and where the surviving partner is seen taking away the child. by

Therefore, in order to truly preserve the best interests of the child, we have submitted a bill aiming at recognizing that second parent, of the same sex or not, as the recognized parent. by

Then, the problem of non-Belgian residents and foreigners. This problem is stubborn and disappointing for many couples in our territory. by

These couples are clearly deprived of the right to marry, unlike in the Netherlands, where in this area, we have decided to do nothing and let the classic international private law play: non-Belgians, European or not, even residing in Belgium for 20 years, will not be able to marry if their national law does not recognize same-sex marriage or an equivalent institution. by

This impossibility to marry a non-Belgian will imply that discrimination in terms of access to a residence permit will persist. The Vande Lanotte circular allows certain regroupments but under very strict conditions: proven durable relationship, significant income, etc. This difficulty will, I hope, be able to progress as part of the reform of international private law that this government has begun. Another aspect that everyone should be aware of: it is clear that this marriage will not be recognized in most countries.

In conclusion, marriage is an institution anchored in the collective unconscious as marking the institutionalization of the couple. The enlargement that is debated here does not mean, however, that marriage should be considered as the ideal model to which every couple should comply. Therefore, it will be necessary to continue working on a flexible structure that can accommodate heterosexual and gay couples who simply want to live together with a minimum of comfort.

But until now, the debate on this parallel structure has been completely blurred. It ended up drafting a contract that was almost the equivalent of marriage given the inaccessibility of the same marriage to gay couples. From now on, this debate can be carried out peacefully. The same applies to the individualization of tax and social rights. These tax and social rights are an important struggle for the Ecolo-Agalev group. We are not great advocates of derivative rights. It is clear that at the present moment, with the opening of marriage, we are extending these derivative rights. Now that everyone is on an equal footing, the debate on individualization can continue with regard to all couples.

This law shall enter into force on the first day of the fourth month following that of its publication in the Moniteur belge. Also, Mr. Minister, I hope that you can promise us to publish this law in the Belgian Moniteur in February. The wedding will be opened in June.

The Ecolo-Agalev group, according to the conscience of each of its members, will vote with hope for this innovative project.

Jef Valkeniers Open Vld

Mr. Speaker, Mr. Minister, colleagues, I speak here in my own name and I will not vote like the majority of our VLD group. I fully agree that two persons of the same sex who live together and who have a permanent relationship have the same rights as married persons in any area. In my opinion, however, the term “marriage” should remain reserved for a commitment of persons of different sexes. Much rather I would have seen the term “registered partnership” or “civil commitment” as used in Canada, with exactly the same rights for both partners as in a marriage. Of course, a lot of laws will need to be amended in which the term "marriage" now occurs. This, of course, requires a lot of legal work. Speaking immediately of a marriage, as one wants to do now, may make things legistically easier, but that is not enough for me as motivation.

Kristien Grauwels Groen

Mr. Valkeniers, on the one hand, you expressly choose to appreciate the relationship of same-sex couples, but on the other hand, you say: let us not call it marriage. So it seems to me that you actually choose to introduce first-class and second-class marriages? The first class then remains reserved for couples of different sexes, and the second class — yet less valued — then in fact consists of a registered partnership for couples of the same sex.

Jef Valkeniers Open Vld

In the municipal council of Dilbeek there is also a member who publicly calls himself gay, but that man has never advocated the term "marriage". What interests us, he says, is that we get the same rights. The name is not a fetish for me, the result counts!

I am also in favour of adoption. I really think there is a difference between the two types of relationships. I think most people who get married do so for other motives than a gay couple who is going to live together. I don’t think the motive is the same. I can very well assume that a man and a woman—when the man knows very well that his wife will not be able to have children for medical reasons—have other motives than a couple who says: We want to have children. Of course, our society today is somewhat on its head. We now see that there are many couples going to live together, who have children and where the man adopts the child and puts it on his name, but who do not marry. But I would not like to see that we have a society in which those of different sexes do not marry anymore, but simply go together and conclude a social contract with the notary, while there are only marriages of hole couples. I would not like to see that.

Kristien Grauwels Groen

Mr. Valkeniers, if you say that you prefer to remain with a registered partnership with the same rights, then I keep in mind that you explicitly choose not to give relationships the same appreciation. You thus make a clear distinction based on a different appreciation.

Jef Valkeniers Open Vld

The [...]

Magda De Meyer Vooruit

Mr Valkeniers, you are an experienced expert in this matter since you recently re-married.

Well, I would like to hear from you which motive, with which you entered into marriage with your most beloved wife, would not apply to holebi.

I often agree with Mr. Valkeniers, but not on this point.

Mr. Valkeniers, there is a reason why you entered into marriage with your beloved wife, but that would not apply to holebi to enter into marriage with each other. I see no difference in the motives, but I would like to know what explicit difference exists according to you.

Jef Valkeniers Open Vld

A marriage is entered with the primary purpose of procreation.

Magda De Meyer Vooruit

Mr. Valkeniers, this is no longer the case with you!

Jef Valkeniers Open Vld

I have just said that in some couples it is known in advance that there is no procreation possible for medical reasons and that therefore marriage is also for other reasons. That is what I said. Someone of my age who marries again does not do that with procreation as a goal. Their

I am a supporter of adoption, including by dogs. There are many single-parent families today. In that case, one person has the difficult task of taking care of the family alone. When two persons feel a certain degree of affection for each other, I am convinced that they can make a positive contribution to the upbringing of a child, whether adopted. In addition, in many couples, one and/or the other partner already has one or more children from a previous heterosexual relationship. Everyone may know married people with children who after several years of divorce and enter into a hoolebirrelation. I assume that these children do not suffer psychological damage. However, there is a difference between children who do not experience psychological damage and children who are raised in optimal conditions. Let me illustrate this with the following example.

Any teacher can tell you anecdotes of children whom the father no longer looks at, but who, both in kindergarten and in elementary school, fantasize and tell stories about a father who in reality is not there, only because they also want a father. Moreover, when I was mayor of Schepdaal, the premises of the municipal school were intended exclusively for boys, but the educational corps consisted mainly of women. Well, at one point the Parent Committee came to ask me if it was not appropriate to appoint male teachers.

They asked me to appoint some men in the school, so that their boys would also have a male teacher, because they thought this was a part of their education. I think children who are raised in a family by their father and mother have something for them. This is the optimal circumstance.

Today we live in a society where many children live in a new family, with a new father or mother partner and sometimes two or three new partners. You know how it is. You just need to start looking at certain social neighborhoods, such as ours, where some are already attached to their fifth or sixth partner. I say the following. If we cannot have the ideal, we must strive for the best. Therefore, I say that adopted children who can end up with a hole pair or homopar are at all even better off than if they have to grow up in the most miserable marginal circumstances or be raised only by a father or mother.

Therefore, we must be consistent. I have nothing against the relationship. I will tell you straight. They should have the same rights as in Canada. In Canada, they go much further. This is known as double paternity or double maternity. Do you know? They have the most extensive legislation in the world. I support that they have the same rights. I’m also for adoption, but I think it should be a civil commitment, rather than a marriage. That is my personal opinion. I belong to a pluralist party. It is an ethical issue and we are free to express ourselves. I will not approve the law, but I will not vote against it. I will remember.

Olivier Maingain MR

Mr. Speaker, Mr. Minister, dear colleagues, if I intervene in this debate, it is to say how much I will support with conviction the bill — which has become a project since it was adopted by the Senate — concerning same-sex marriage. I do so at the end of both a deeply rooted conviction of respect for the personal choice of life made by gay couples and also at the end of a legal reasoning. I believe that the legislator is always badly inspired if he leaves himself guided in his work only by the mere emotion or by the mere will to take into account too passionate feelings. I do this with the greater conviction that one cannot ignore how many members of the homosexual community have experienced, under all dictatorial regimes and under all integrist regimes, the most discriminatory, most vexatory and most offensive measures to their personal dignity.

But the bill we are discussing today is not only the response of society to all those who would want to infringe on the human dignity of those who have made the choice of homosexuality, it is also the recognition of a fundamental right, the right of the same-sex couple to benefit from the stability of a fundamental institution in the organization of society, fundamental in the social life that is marriage. It is known that this debate has been conducted in several countries, countries have been pioneering, and that it is a social fact that, today, leads all modern states to accept, either the recognition of marriage for the benefit of homosexual couples, or the creation of a specific institution. And the node of the debate is whether one favours the creation of a specific institution or whether one accepts that the institution of marriage can be open to homosexual couples. I resolutely oppose this latter solution. The debate that is taking place is whether the institution of marriage – which has been highlighted throughout our work this afternoon – is an institution that privileges the legal effects in relation to filiation or whether, as the State Council opinion suggests, the institution of marriage is primarily aimed at recognizing the rights and duties between the members of the community that is forming, regardless of their affective or sexual preferences.

Professor Van Gysel, in a study that was published in the legal journal "Divorce Actualités", said very rightly: "The fundamental question is this: does procreation participate in the nature, plus, of the very essence of marriage, and is it therefore denaturing it than conceiving it without this purpose, or is it only an effect, ⁇ important but not substantial?" Professor Van Gysel, taking the opinion of the State Council, said that the answer lies in the opinion itself of the State Council, not in the part where it stigmatized the bill, but in a reference at the bottom of the page when he quoted the magnificent definition of Portalis, one of the authors of the Civil Code of 1803, according to which: "So what is marriage in itself and independently of all civil and religious laws? It is the society of man and woman who unite to perpetuate their species, to help each other, by mutual aid, to carry the weight of life and to share their destined communes.”

The authors of the Civil Code preferred, in the institution of marriage, first of all the community of life over the consequences connected with the filiation.

When I read the arguments, in particular of the former dean of the UCL Faculty of Law in the “Journal of the Courts”, to oppose the opening of the institution of marriage to homosexual couples, I must find that all the arguments he can cite favor the effects of marriage over filiation over those related to the community of life.

I believe that it is to disregard the very foundation of the institution of marriage, as recalled by Portalis, it is to disregard the very foundation of what is privileged today in our society, to want to prefer only the effects of marriage in relation to filiation at the expense of the community of life.

I was somewhat surprised to read a statement under the pen of Professor Ranchon, knowing the high level of legal reflection that it is customary. He said: "It is not consistent in law - citing in this the opinion of the State Council - to create from now on two types of marriage, that is, two different institutions, which do not have the same scope, the same effects, while making them bear the same name. (...)" And further: "It is not, in other words, consistent, to reprisal the perfectly correct expression of the State Council, to use the same legal figure to group together two separate legal regimes of the organization of a couple" And it is here that the phrase becomes, I think, delicate on the part of Professor Ranchon, "A "complete" marriage that takes into account the possible links between heterosexual marriage and the procréation or adoption of a child and a "half-marriage", which is deliberately video the legal effects of marriage in matters of filiation.

This thesis is equivalent to saying that the legal institution is dictated not by the will of men but by the law of nature.

This is an approach that I cannot share, because if it was true that this type of couple relationship was the foundation of the legal institution, then it would have to be believed that all those who have once advocated that the joint living contract was the institution that responded to the expectations of homosexual couples, it would have to be believed that they would have been right when they were wrong. It is known that today, on the basis of the law of 23 November 1988, the joint living contract is preferred by heterosexual couples and not by homosexual couples because the latter have not found in this law the answer to their expectation that is to found a stable life community with extensive legal effects.

That is why, on the legal level, I allow myself to say that the will of the legislator prevails over all arguments that are supposedly related to consequences of the natural type of choice of life, of personal behavior. The will of the legislator is not to differentiate the legal institutions because of what falls within the most intimate personal life. The will of the legislator is to provide a legal framework where the most intimate personal life choices can flourish.

When I read the arguments of a number of jurists, though prominent but who want absolutely to reject homosexual couples from the institution of marriage, I find that these are dangerous or even shameful arguments. I quote, for example, French professors who said — in this case Mrs BrunettiPons —: “The legislator must not, in civil law, make access to normality a relationship that is not socially acceptable.” These are deplorable and unacceptable words. Another professor said: “This is the problem posed by homosexual couples who, because they are rarely faithful, require that loyalty be excluded from the status they claim elsewhere.” Disgraceful, disgraceful and unacceptable. by

I believe that we will bring justice to people whom no democratic regime can stigmatize and who have never been stigmatized except by intolerance regimes. I believe that today, by voting this law, we simply respect the right to happiness of every citizen in an essential institution of social organization.

Chairman: Herman De Croo, Chairman Voorzitter: Herman De Croo, Voorzitter

President Herman De Croo

I would like to thank Mr. Jean-Paul Henry replaced me for a few moments.

Els Van Weert Vooruit

Mr. Speaker, Mr. Minister, colleagues, if everything goes well after the voting, Thursday 30 January 2003 will undoubtedly be a historic day for everyone in this country who has committed to equal rights for holebi’s.

Finally, the possibility of civil marriage is opened for everyone in this country. The social acceptance that has grown with regard to holebiesexuality thus receives an important legal translation. For Spirit, this opening of marriage is ⁇ important and ⁇ not merely symbolic. After all, it reflects a changing time spirit. The fact that many men and women develop a lasting love relationship with a partner of the same sex is increasingly less and less perceived as problematic by the common community. The mentality of people changes as they meet more holebik couples and holebik families in their daily lives. Today we take not only a ⁇ useful step, but also a necessary step. As long as the government reserves the right to marry to man-woman relationships, government campaigns of all kinds are telling holes and their parents that there is no problem with their other-being, after all, nothing more than drops on a hot plate. The same government says at the same time that these children are ultimately not entirely equal. By voting in favour of this bill, this House of Representatives gives an important signal. In our society, sexual orientation does not matter when it comes to granting rights. This changing spirit of time has not come simply. It is the result of a decade-long struggle. We have all done our best here today — and it may be — to say that it is this or that his merit that we are so far today. I would like to entrust the historical step especially to the many militant holebies who have fought for social acceptance and equal rights for years and initially in sometimes especially difficult circumstances.

That this was not obvious — and still is not always obvious — proves the opinion of the State Council, which was clearly morally inspired. The State Council expressed objections to this bill, because, in its opinion, marriage is still primarily an institution that should lead reproduction in good course. Homosexuals and lesbians cannot have children together through natural reproduction. But do those critics dare to follow this logic? Will they, for example, deny a woman who has passed the fertile age the right to enter into marriage with her partner at a later age? This is clearly and rightly not the case, because in our contemporary society, the primary purpose of marriage is to create a lasting social bond.

Some believe that it is sufficient to place the rights and duties created by marriage in a separate statute for same-sex couples. They advocate, whether or not, a further expansion of the social contract as provided for in the law of 23 November 1998. However, the creation of such a marriage sui generis would be a disregard of the idea that these relationships are absolutely equivalent, as if it were a first- and second-class marriage, as Ms. Grauwels rightly noted later. After the adoption of this draft law, therefore, it will not look forward to the first same-sex marriage, but rather to the first marriage in which the marriages are of the same sex. This is an important nuance.

Colleagues, I will soon vote with conviction for this bill, after all, it is an important step forward. Nevertheless, I regret that this government has failed to reach agreement on two important points. First, according to this bill, it remains impossible to marry a foreigner of the same sex in Belgium because the government refuses to affect the principles of international private law applicable to marriage. They require that both persons meet the basic conditions prescribed by their statutes for entering into a marriage. Spirit regrets that it has not chosen the option (...)

A second downside is that this bill fails to resolve the question of parenting within gay and lesbian families in a striking way. Numerous children in Belgium are raised by two partners of the same sex. These include children from previous marriages. More and more newly formed families are emerging in this country. How long can we continue to assert that children within such families cannot rely on a necessary legal bond with the person who raises them as parents? Spirit would therefore like to see the realization of the right of adoption for holebi. We also believe that there is an ongoing social evolution that must in the future irrevocably lead to the right of adoption. Social pressure will become irresistible. Their

In anticipation of this, we propose to legally anchor a solid system for social parenting. If I am not mistaken, Mr. Minister, this was also stated in one of your policy letters. I would therefore like to remind you of the bill I have submitted on this subject, together with colleague Karel Van Hoorebeke. Numerous newly formed heterogeneous families also benefit from such a arrangement. Social parenting addresses a number of concerns within an increasing number of families — hetero or holebi — in which a non-biological parent is involved in the upbringing of the children. Their

I will give an example. A woman who is married to a divorced man who has children from his previous marriage, together with her husband, is responsible for the upbringing of those children. However, if her husband — the biological father of the children — would die, that woman has no legal bond with the children with which she has built a very close affective bond.

The same scenario is easily conceivable for two lesbian women who together raise a child born through artificial insemination. The need for a social parenting scheme is large and increases proportionally with the increasing number of newly formed families and children raised by same-sex partners.

I would like to deliberately conclude with a positive note. The bill that will be approved later is a milestone in the history of the cave movement. I hope that this Parliament in the future will continue to work on legislation that gives holebians the rights that they have. These are equal rights, neither more nor less.

Geert Versnick Open Vld

Mr. Speaker, Mr. Speaker, Mr. Speaker, Mr. Speaker, Mr. Speaker, Mr. Speaker, Mr. Speaker, Mr. Speaker, Mr. Speaker, Mr. Speaker, Mr. Speaker, Mr. Speaker, Mr. Speaker, Mr. Speaker, Mr. Speaker, Mr. Speaker, Mr. Speaker, Mr. Speaker, Mr. Speaker, Mr. Speaker, Mr. Speaker, Mr. Speaker, Mr. Speaker. Apparently, time was never ripe for it, and our society was not ready for it. Fortunately the times are changing. That is why we can approve same-sex marriage today. Their

The same-sex marriage is for some — this has been shown during this debate — another delicate topic. After all, marriage is an institution of private law that has a very great significance in our daily lives. It also has a long tradition. Some think that traditions are inviolable and should be kept in all praise and unchanged in life. It is understandable that one must become accustomed to the idea of making changes to the institution of marriage. Moreover, marriage is regarded by many as the best bond of our community, in particular because they assume that the family is the cornerstone of society. Anyone who has studied law in Ghent will remember reading that on the first page of the book of civil law by Professor Delva. The mistake often made is to equate the family with a married couple, husband and wife with their children. If one wishes to consider marriage only as a community-foundation, one can keep doing so quietly. Opening the marriage to homosexuals will not prohibit men and women from marrying each other. The marriage will continue. This bill does not undermine marriage. The social function of marriage, which includes, among other things, the transmission of life, the rejuvenation of the group, the renewal of the social tissue by creating new family bonds, remains. However, the transmission of life is no longer the essential characteristic of marriage. However, it is also not affected by the present draft law. Homosexual marriage is not promoted. There is no uncertainty. Only the people are given a choice. People are no longer discriminated against. Giving people choices and no longer discriminating does not need to lead to uncertainty. Only in certain thinking directions where there is only one thought direction to be followed, giving choice would give rise to uncertainty!

Why does the VLD believe that marriage should be opened to homosexuals? Why did I submit the first bill on 28 April 1999 to enable same-sex marriage? Their

It is a bill whose explanation forms the basis of the explanation of the bill that is presented here. The majority of the population today still finds marriage the ideal basis for the sustainable coexistence of two persons. In order to confirm, formalize and make known their love and relationship and their desired durability, the institute marriage is chosen. It is an institution that, in addition to a great symbolic function, also provides the necessary legal protection, with rights and duties.

This means that we are dealing with a changed view of marriage, which is the basic starting point of this bill. In fact, as stated in the explanatory note, marriage is now vividly perceived and perceived as a commitment between two persons, with the primary aim of creating a lasting social bond. There is therefore no reason to reserve this institution for a relationship between man and woman. If we find the relationship between men or between women equal to that between man and woman, homosexuals should also be able to formalize that relationship in the same way, with the same symbolism and with the same protection.

This changed conception or meaning of marriage thus also implies that it is oriented towards reproduction or that the possibility of parenting is no longer the essence of the marriage or a necessary condition for it. Indeed, opponents of this bill have always argued that the reproductive condition is the absolute essential characteristic of marriage. In an opinion not purely juridically but rather philosophically oriented, the State Council formulated it as follows: "There is a close causal link between the institution of marriage and the need to guarantee the stability of the marital bond between a man and a woman with a view to the upbringing of children that may arise from it." Here, indeed, the State Council has let itself go quite well, not in a legal consideration but in a philosophical consideration.

However, the question of whether a couple can or wants to have children does not matter. After all, the fact that the marriage takes into account potential offspring does not mean that a marriage always assumes children. After all, heterosexual couples who are determined to have no children in any way should not marry. In addition, children are now generated and born both within and outside the marriage. There are numerous married couples who find having children no longer an essential feature of marriage. There are many consciously childless couples.

Moreover, the 2002 judgment of the European Court of Human Rights, Goodwyn, confirms that marriage is a fundamental right of the individual, independent of the possibility of reproduction. Starting from that fundamental right, and arguing whether or not it is a discrimination, the VLD is of the opinion that marriage should be open to homosexuals anyway.

Instead of opening up marriage, it was also proposed to improve the system of legal cohabitation, thus addressing the need for recognition and legal status of homosexuals. This shows that legal cohabitation is still not a full-fledged alternative to marriage, both for heterosexual and homosexual.

However, this is not the right solution. It would only create a new discrimination.

Contrary to what Mr. Valkeniers said — I am glad that he is just coming back — it is important that marriage is opened to holebik pairs and that no new institute is created with the same rights though, but with a different name or to improve another existing possibility. The symbolic value lies precisely in the opening of marriage as we know it today. No institution, even if it is a faithful copy, is fit to replace marriage when it comes to the social recognition of homosexuals. I would like to quote Professor De Schutter during the hearings in the Senate: “If the institute gets closer to marriage, same-sex couples will consider it an insult that the real marriage is inaccessible to them. In this way, they will be further marginalized and the clichés that exist about them will be ⁇ ined." Professor De Schutter referred to the lacquered doctrine of "separate but equal" which allowed racial separation in the United States between 1896 and 1954.

Indeed, this bill does not regulate the problem of cattle couples who are already raising children or who have a child wish, among other things in the field of inheritance and maintenance obligation. At some point there was a question of incorporating this possibility in the draft law on adoption, but that was, as colleague Moerman put it here a few days ago, "a bridge too far". It is clear that we also want a solution in this area, and for the VLD, adoption is the appropriate means. This will undoubtedly give rise to an exciting debate in the next parliamentary term.

Finally, as many intervenients have already mentioned, there are also questions of an international private judicial nature. Homosexual marriages entered into in Belgium will not be recognized abroad. Non-Belgians will not be allowed to enter into same-sex marriage. It is true that homosexual couples abroad will not be recognized as couples everywhere. It is therefore important that homosexual couples are adequately informed and that they are informed of the possible consequences of their marriage abroad. Furthermore, it still remains their choice to get married and they will then be able to make that choice, knowing what problems they may experience abroad. That is not a reason to continue to deny them the possibility of marriage.

Taking into account the evolution of the rights of homosexuals in the international and yet ⁇ the European legal order that is moving in the positive direction, these problems, if they are already faced, will become less and less present.

In addition, as a Belgian legislator, we must still be able to carry out reforms in our legal system, even though the rest of the world is not so enthusiastic about it. This does not mean that we should close our eyes to what is happening elsewhere. It is also possible that our decision here today could persuade other countries to take that step.

Regarding the IPR judicial problems, there is, by the way, a bill in the Senate concerning the introduction of a codex International Private Right to wait for treatment.

As a liberal, progressive party, the VLD will approve that bill, which is a milestone in our legal history and an important step in recognizing the equality of homosexuality and heterosexuality. We do not want to profile ourselves as the political wing of the cave movement, but we believe that homosexuals should have the same rights and duties as heterosexuals. This means for us, among other things, that homosexuals should be given the opportunity to choose marriage.

Minister Marc Verwilghen

I would like to briefly explain the position of the Government.

First, I think it is a characteristic of a healthy society that it is constantly in motion. This is also the case for the law, although the law always comes one or more steps later. A real preventive legislation is, by the way, out of the wrong.

In our society, marriage is still considered by the majority of citizens as the ideal basis for the sustainable coexistence of two persons. You may have noticed that none of the Civil Code states that marriage can only be concluded between two persons of different sexes. In other words, if that is the subject of the discussion now, it is because the doctrine of law and the jurisprudence have caused that discussion. The logic for the absence of such provision was given that marriage is aimed at reproduction. This has been discussed many times here today. Since persons of the same sex are incapable of having children together, jurisprudence and jurisprudence have assumed that spouses of different sexes should be spouses.

You now see that this explanation is outdated. Children are conceived and born, both within and outside the marriage. This, of course, has consequences that are important in this discussion. Many married couples no longer see procreation as the essential purpose of marriage. In contemporary society, marriage is lived and felt as a formal relationship between two persons whose primary purpose is the creation of a community of sustainable life. Marriage offers both partners the opportunity to highlight their relationship and the feelings they have for each other. Prices that change time-spirit is by the government bijgetreden. Het huwelijk dient thans voornamelijk om de innige band between two persons te veruiterlijken en te bevestigen. The marriage immediately loses its procreative character. Therefore, we have gemeend dat de stap, that today must be done, also can be gezet. Overigens is this step volkomen in overeenstemming with the article 12 of the European Treaty for the Rights of Man. Today, our society has evolved in such a way that there is no reason to deny a person the possibility to marry on the sole basis of their sex and sexual affinities. The starting point of this project is therefore the equal treatment in marriage of homosexual and heterosexual couples, except that the marriage of two persons of the same sex has no effect in matters of filiation. Mijnheer de voorzitter, sommigen have dated yesterday today. Others want to keep it there. Echter, zoals ik u daarstraks heb gezegd, is of maatschappij in beweging. I think that one further rijpingsproces around this matter ongetwijfeld op termijn meer klarheid zal brengen. The Government draws attention to the fact that this draft does not infringe on the principles of international private law applicable to marriage. Thus, marriage is possible — and this also for persons of the same sex — only when the persons meet the substantial conditions prescribed by their personal status to be able to enter into marriage. The opening of same-sex marriage implies that Belgium introduces a legal institution that does not yet exist in other countries except the Netherlands. Therefore, it is not excluded that such marriages are not recognized in some countries. There will be situations where certain marriages will be perfectly valid in Belgium and at the same time no effect will be recognized abroad. It is therefore of the greatest importance of the attention of the concerned is assured of the possible harmful effects of these matters abroad. De betrokkenen hebben er belang bij zich bij de vestiging in het buitenland of bij het verwerven of het bestaan van patrimoniale of other belangen aldaar terdege te laten adviseren. I can de Senat alleen maar uitnodigen om het voorontwerp van wet met betrekking tot het internationaal privaatrecht zo spoedig mogelijk te behandelen. From there are immersed also one reeks answers given on questions that we are engaged in.

Finally, Mr. Speaker, the question arose whether I, as Minister of Justice, would also like to ensure that this law is promptly published. I can tell you that I will not treat this law differently than all those laws that directly depend on my jurisdiction. In other words, the publication will take place as soon as possible after the Chamber has taken a decision on this draft law.