State Secretary Paul Blokhuis wants to start a conversation within his party about same-sex marriage. He is a member of the Dutch socially-conservative Christian party the Christenunie (CU).
The State Secretary (Health) stated in the EO radio program Dit is de Dag that "People who are in love, and love someone of the same sex have a good ally in me." The statements are remarkable, as same-sex marriage is a sensitive issue in the Christian Union party. Party chairman Piet Adema has since announced that he does not want to start this conversation.
When asked by EO radio presenter Tijs van der Brink whether Blokhuis is in favour of same-sex marriage, he says: "Yes, I wish them all the luck in the world."
The opening up of marriage for same-sex couples is a controversial issue within the Christian Union. According to the Christian party, marriage can only be interpreted on biblical grounds as a union between a man and a woman.
The party therefore voted against the legal introduction of both registered partnership (1998) and marriage for same-sex couples (2001). The Christian Union has also always advocated legal protection for marriage officials who refuse give their cooperation to a same-sex wedding.
At the party congress in November last year, an amendment to explicitly mention same-sex marriage was voted down in the party's new statement of principles - partly on the recommendation of the executive committee.
Blokhuis: "I am sure that the decision at that congress is an intermediate step and that it is a step towards a different formulation that more members can live with and homosexuals can feel happy about."
CU chairman Piet Adema has since announced that, as far as he is concerned, there is "no reason" to question the text about marriage in the declaration of principles.
Adema in Protestant newspaper Reformatorisch Dagblad: “Look, as a member of our party, Mr Blokhuis naturally has every right to express his opinion on this subject. But the executive committee is definitely not planning on re-opening the debate on this issue."