Refunding a party of woman-fobics

If you are Dutch, you most certainly know them: SGP. The abbreviation stands for "Staatkundig Gereformeerde Partij", a very strict party of reformed Christians.

Recently they made all the headlines as the state-funding of the party was cut off, due to the fact women cannot be a participating member of the party, nor will they ever be as party-regulations clearly state so.
Women-rights groups and people-rights groups officially filed complaints about this and even sued the party to allow women to actively participate in the politics of the party. This lawsuit attracted a lot of attention, the judge ruled the SGP was discriminating women based on their sex and lead to the financial cut-off.

Wednesday, the Dutch Counsil of State, overruled the lower court and allowed the funding of the SGP. The Counsil argued the Dutch Constitution allowed both the freedom of organisation and the freedom of speech to co-exist. In short: the SGP is allowed to keep women from political functions as these women are allowed, and able, to create their own party similar to the SGP but with their own regulations.
The groups responsible for the lawsuit have appealed to this ruling, the second half of January the appeal is due.

I sincerely hope the ruling on that appeal will be the same as the ruling of the Counsil, as our constitution is clear oneough on this matter.
Every individual is allowed to start their own political party, and has thus the rights to state-funding on a few conditions: at least 1000 members are needed, and the party has to have participated in the last elections, where they were awarded one or more seats in the "Eerste" or "Tweede Kamer". The rules do not state anyting on the intentions or regulations of that party, and as long as there are enough people willing to become members and vote on the party, almost everything is allowed. Yes, that is democracy.

Please not that I absolutely do not agree with the political and ethical views of the SGP, nor am I member of that party, nor have I ever voted or even though of voting for them.
I strongly disagree with the standpoints of the SGP regarding abortion, gay-marriages and euthanasia. I think they are severely outdated: but it is their right to think so and say so, and I respect that.
As anyone should.

4 thoughts on “Refunding a party of woman-fobics”

  1. Now you’re just drawing me out, aren’t you ^_-

    It’s their right to say so, but while their plans have not taken hold in our legal system, they’ll have to abide by it. Freedom of opinion and freedom of speech is an entirely different thing to freedom of action. They can be of the opinion that women shouldn’t be allowed to participate, but they are subject to our laws and will thus have to abide by it.

    People seem to constantly mix this up. So, this is what’s allowed:

    a) Claim you do not feel women are capable of working in politics and should not be allowed. Strive to pass regulations and laws to make this happen. Abide by the current law while your regulations have not taken hold. Current laws strictly forbid – in any manner – discriminating, thus women should be allowed.

    Then what people argue ís allowed, but what is really nót allowed:

    b) Claim you do not feel women are capable of working in politics and should not be allowed. Strive to pass regulations and laws to make this happen. Act upon your completely mental and still purely conceptual ideas as if they were laws by refusing women to take up positions.

    Not only do I feel their funding should be cut, I feel like they should be severely punished, up to jail sentences, for removing one of the most basic human rights possible based on the fucking most idiotic argument ever to be heard. Their positions are not limited to ideas but are brought out into practice and thus applicable to our civil law.

    Bloody hell mate, if we let this get off, we’re essentially condoning political parties claiming black people are of lower stature than others and therefore keeping them from positions. Can’t you see how bloody moronic this is and how bloody simple the difference is??? Speaking versus acting, Maarten, speaking versus acting!!

  2. Bloody hell mate, if we let this get off, we’re essentially condoning political parties claiming black people are of lower stature than others and therefore keeping them from positions. Just to reiterate, this is the slippery slope that will allow one group of people to put themselves above any other group. I think it needn’t be explained on how many occasions that led to problems in human history.

  3. Ethically & conceptually I totally agree with you: the issue here is that our constitution and laws apparently allow this kind of behaviour.
    As both the court and the law allow it, I still condone the fact it is so, but have to support the fact it is allowed. Do not get me wrong: if this case stands up before our supreme court and the SGP is still allowed to keep women from doing political jobs from within their party, I’m a huge fan of changing the laws to restrict this kind of behaviour.
    It is soooo 1933.

  4. I’m not sure… that’s not how I interpret the law.

    The thing is, the verdict of the ‘Raad van State’ was based on the interpretation of the ‘Vrouwenverdrag’, which might indeed have left room for this nonsense. However, our own constitution clearly states discrimination in any form is illegal. No discussion possible there. The question that remains is whether this also implies freedom of action. I don’t believe it does and as the Raad van State didn’t discuss the constitution but the Vrouwenverdrag, I don’t think their verdict can be read as such either. But if it is so, I’d be all for changing the constitution, as that would leave too much room for ill-willing parties to act on what théy think is right.

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