First same-gender wedding in Caribbean Netherlands


SABA--The Census Office in Saba registered its first same-sex union between two visiting Aruban residents. Aruban Cedeno Xiomar Gonzalez (26) wed Venezuelan Israel Ernesto Ruiz Pinto (27), tying the knot Tuesday, December 4.
The civil ceremony, the very first of its kind in the Caribbean Netherlands, was officiated by Julietta Woods of the Civil Registry in the courtroom at the Government Building in The Bottom.
Island Councilman Carl Buncamper and his partner Rudolph Hassell were the chosen witnesses for the wedding, but due to other commitments Tourism Director Glenn Holm replaced Buncamper for the special ceremony.
Woods confirmed that this is an historic first same-sex wedding ceremony performed on the island and this may lead to some protocol adjustments. She still had to read the official "husband and wife" script leading to some confusion with the crowd gathered for the event.
Saba is the first island of the former Netherlands Antilles to facilitate same-sex weddings since the islands obtained their new constitutional statuses after October 10, 2010.
Gonzales explained their decision to come to Saba, saying, "It is the first Dutch Caribbean territory to adopt legislation allowing same-sex weddings. Bonaire's adoption may take a few more months, so Saba was our only choice."
Gonzales is a Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) group youth leader working within the regional Pink Orange Alliance. AIDS Support Group Saba Foundation is a member of the Dutch Caribbean Pink Orange Alliance and Gonzales met Buncamper at a regional symposium. Buncamper counselled the young couple, inviting them to initiate contact with officials in Saba and organise their wedding and honeymoon here.
"My husband is a Venezuelan native and the processing of papers took a while," said Gonzales, explaining that it was worth the wait, as this was the couple's first visit to Saba.
Praising local hospitality, Gonzales said the "ceremony was personal and highly emotional."
He added that Saba is beautiful with tropical greenery. "It feels like we are in a mountainous Amazon [region, ed.]. It makes us dizzy, since we are from very flat Aruba."
The couple is honeymooning at El Momo Cottages, where host Dirkjan Jansen and his partner Joost de Jong made the couple feel like part of the family.
The two hosts are local LGBT group leaders, having organised the first local Pink Orange LGBT soirée on Friday, November 30. The private event was meant to allow those not yet open about their lifestyle to join the group without feeling pressured.
Tourism Director Holm was "excited" about this historic first same-sex civil union. "We are seeing interest in same-sex marriages in Saba. The next one is scheduled for December 17."
The first same-sex married couple is to be featured in the island's tourism materials, Holm explained. The wedding obtained extensive coverage by a wide range of media houses in The Netherlands and the other islands of the Dutch Caribbean.

Eerste homohuwelijk in Caribisch Nederland

SABA- Op Saba is dinsdag het eerste homohuwelijk in het Caribisch deel van het Koninkrijk afgesloten. Een Arubaanse man van 26 jaar trouwde met een 27-jarige Venezolaan.

Het stel woont op Aruba, maar daar is het voor hen nog steeds niet mogelijk om te trouwen. Daarom zijn de twee naar Saba uitgeweken.
Saba is net als Bonaire en Sint Eustatius een bijzondere gemeente van Nederland sinds 10 oktober 2010. Sinds kort is ook de Nederlandse huwelijkswetgeving van kracht op die drie eilanden. Op Aruba, Curaçao en Sint Maarten is het niet mogelijk voor mensen van hetzelfde geslacht om te trouwen. Wel kan een dergelijk huwelijk worden bijgeschreven in de burgerlijke stand.
'Dit geweldige nieuws is een felicitatie waard', reageert voorzitter Tanja Ineke van COC Nederland. 'Ook voor de autoriteiten op Saba, die met hun coöperatieve houding rond de openstelling van het huwelijk een voortrekkersrol in de regio vervullen.' 

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Universiteit van Curaçao start nieuwe opleiding International Hospitality & Tourism Management

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Unanimous support for law to restore Statia democracy

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