Yes, the title does indeed say "constitutional discrimination", as this is what the European Commission thinks of the practice in our country.
Recently, the European Commissioner of Social Affairs Vladimir Spidla has sent the Dutch government a letter concerning the treatment of homosexuals, and the more strict compliance to a European regulation stemming from the year 2000.
This guidance is prohibiting discrimination on religion or conviction, age, handicap, sexe, or sexual preferences. Our country will be tried before the European Court of Justice in two months if we do not comply.
This is where Spidla is hitting a nerve, as our ‘Algemene wet Gelijke Behandeling’ does not allow confessional institutions to refuse homosexuals a job solely on the basis of their sexual preferences. It does allow for the refusal of the person, if his or her acting or behavior is in contradiction with the principles the employer tries to carry out. This nuance in our law is for example used by Christian schools to refuse gay employees, where the cohabitation of the person is important to the foundation of the rejection.
The hurt is directly dependent on our constitution, for it houses a contradiction which has remained unsolved ever since the conceiving of the constitution. Article 1 says discrimination is prohibited, but according to article 6 anyone can believe and confess to their own belief(s), individually or in communion with others, while article 23 regulates the freedom of education, ánd the freedom to employ teachers.
With the letter from Spidla, Holland is faced with a diabolical dilemma.
Do we disavow centuries of history and our very own constitution for Europe? Or do we declare constitutional discrimination to be inalienable to our nation?