A large majority in the Dutch parliament want same-sex couples to have the right to marry in the Netherlands Antilles and Aruba. The MPs have backed a call to the government by the GreenLeft party to work towards achieving this goal.
Same-sex marriage is already legal in the Netherlands and will soon be introduced on the Caribbean islands of Bonaire, Saba and Sint Eustatius when they are given the status of "special local authorities" within the Kingdom of the Netherlands in October 2010.
But a majority of Dutch MPs also want this to apply to the Antillean islands of Curacao and Sint Maarten, which are set to gain greater autonomy under new arrangements governing the Netherlands' relations with its former colonies.
The Court of Justice for the Netherlands Antilles and Aruba ruled in June that the islands are under no obligation to give same-sex marriage a status on a par with marriage between a man and woman, a ruling which met with a positive response from the Antilllean government.