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 I think they are severely outdated: but it is their right to think so and say so, and I respect that.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.