Journal Article

LGB Rights in Belgium, 1999–2007: A Historical Survey of a Velvet Revolution

Paul Borghs and Bart Eeckhout

in International Journal of Law, Policy and the Family

Volume 24, issue 1, pages 1-28
Published in print April 2010 | ISSN: 1360-9939
Published online December 2009 | e-ISSN: 1464-3707 | DOI:
LGB Rights in Belgium, 1999–2007: A Historical Survey of a Velvet Revolution

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Between 1999 and 2007, three important demands of the LGB (lesbian, gay, and bisexual) movement in Belgium were realised: the anti-discrimination law, the opening up of civil marriage to same-sex partners, and the opening up of adoption to same-sex couples. As a result, Belgium became one of the world front-runners in the extension of legal rights to LGBs. This article sketches the legal and social position of Belgian LGBs before the federal elections of 13 June 1999 and goes on to provide a detailed, step-by-step historical survey of how the subsequent revolution with respect to LGB rights came about. The survey starts with the hesitant introduction of a minimalist partnership regulation, followed by a relatively encompassing anti-discrimination law, and concludes with the obstacle-ridden process of opening up civil marriage first and adoption next. Finally, we discuss the measurable emancipatory effects of recently adopted legislation as well as the various factors that collectively explain the velvet legal revolution in Belgium.

Journal Article.  13788 words. 

Subjects: Family Law ; Marriage and the Family

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