Opinion: Missed opportunity

POSTED: 09/30/13 1:10 PM

The powers that be in Curacao took a very strange decision about the Gay Pride Parade. The police told the organizers that “all expressions that indicate the gay-identity of the event are not allowed to be shown in public.”

In other words: Curacao, a constitutional state that is ruled by its constitution, forbids gay citizens to show others that they are gay.

As an autonomous country in the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Curacao has its own State Regulation. A lot is possible in such a local constitution, but not that it conflicts with the Constitution of the Kingdom.

The funny thing is: it doesn’t. Like St. Maarten’s State Regulation, Curacao’s constitution contains a provision that prohibits discrimination.

Article 16 deals with the principle of equality: “Everyone shall be treated equally in equivalent circumstances. Discrimination on grounds of religion, belief, political persuasion, race, color of skin, sex, language, national or social origins, membership of a national minority, wealth, birth or any other ground whatsoever is prohibited.”

There you have it. The addition “any other ground” clinches the matter for all possible forms of discrimination that have not been specifically mentioned.

And yet, the police in Curacao manage to prohibit participants in the Gay Pride Parade to express their gay-identity.

Remarkably, the organizers of the parade have taken the news quietly. There is no outrage but there is on the other hand “hope for the future.”

The organizer of the parade, Curacao Gay Pro said even in a press release that the permit department had handled its request for a permit “respectfully” but that pressure from third parties was to be expected.

In May of next year, CGPro will organize the other of all manifestations: the Gran Curacao Caribbean Pride. The organization said it will “take the time to talk with the authorities about the concept of Pride in the Caribbean context.”

In a way, one must respect CGPro’s cool attitude; on the other hand it feels very much like a missed opportunity for gay rights.

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