The Balkenende Government claimed that this issue lay solely within the remit of the central Government.
In practice, municipalities decide whether or not to hire registrars who object to marrying same-sex couples.
At that moment, the Christian Democrats (Christian Democratic Appeal) were not part of the ruling coalition for the first time since the introduction of full democracy.
The issue is very controversial on the islands, both because many oppose the principle of the law and because of the perceived "neocolonialism" of the Netherlands imposing such a law on its overseas municipalities.
Dutch law requires either partner must have Dutch nationality or have residency in the Netherlands.
The marriageable age in the Netherlands is 18, or below 18 with parental consent.
However, if their existing contract did not state this requirement, they cannot be fired over a refusal.
Some local councils choose not to require registrars who object to same-sex marriage to perform ceremonies.