On the 8th of September 2016, the parliament of Aruba voted in favor of the civil law amendment granting civil partnerships to same-sex couples, as the first island in the Caribbean. With 11 votes in favor and 5 votes against, the civil law amendment was passed yesterday night in a packed parliament building filled with supporters.
After a 2.5-year battle, Desiree de Sousa- Croes, an openly-gay parliamentarian, can finally celebrate. de Sousa-Croes: “The last 2 months were strenuous but thanks to the continuous support of my family, friends and the numerous organizations* that have supported and fought for these basic human rights, we can now say that Aruba is the pioneer in the Caribbean when it comes to LGBT rights.”
The online petition by the human rights advocacy group, Igualdad Aruba, reached almost 20,000 signatures, and 70% of the people who signed were under 38. “Every action had its reaction”, Croes said when mentioning that multiple organizations united to fight for this cause. “True Colors, an organization lobbying for gay rights, contacted the international All Out platform to help bring global attention to this matter and as such we received approximately 50,000 votes from countries around the world.”
“It is so beautiful to have people tell you that you are an example for the rest of the Caribbean”, said de Sousa-Croes who has been invited by the Parliamentarians for Global Action (PGA) to lead the same mission regarding equality in the neighboring island of Santo Domingo. “We are a small island but this has so much impact on the rest of the Caribbean. Aruba has set the tone and now the other Caribbean islands can follow”, says a joyous de Sousa-Croes.
*Organizations which contributed were:
Igualdad Aruba, True Colors Aruba, Alternative Lifestyle Aruba, Equal Rights Aruba and Straight Alliance.