Twenty years ago, back in 2001, the Netherlands became the first nation in the world to legalize gay marriage. Since then, the country has paved the way for LGBTQ rights globally, cementing itself as one of the most forward-thinking nations on the planet.
Now, the Dutch have made another groundbreaking declaration: Royals can marry partners of the same sex and remain in succession for the crown.
According to NBC News, Mark Rutte, the nation’s Prime Minister, stated, “The government believes that the heir can also marry a person of the same sex…The cabinet, therefore, does not see that an heir to the throne or the King should abdicate if he/she would like to marry a partner of the same sex.”
This matter likely won’t have an impact anytime soon, however. The next in line for the throne is Princess Catharina-Amalia, who is only 17, and her father, King Willem-Alexander, is only 54. This means that the crown likely won’t be passed to her for another 20 years, if not more. It also isn’t known if Princess Catharina even identifies as LGBTQ, meaning this ruling might not be used for decades to come.
And if Princess Catharina isn’t LGBTQ, that’s even more reason to celebrate the new ruling, because that means the Dutch people have decided this purely from a true belief that being LGBTQ doesn’t matter or hinder your ability to serve your country.
One issue that would arise, however, is who comes next in line afterward. Assuming there’s a same-sex partnership and no blood relative is born from them, there would be a question as to who takes the throne next. Prime Minister Rutte doesn’t seem fazed, however. According to USA Today, he simply stated, “That bridge will be crossed when we come to it.”