The Netherlands’ supreme court has ruled that legislation allowing same-sex unions must be recognized in Aruba, a constituent country of Holland.

The decision follows a row over a same-sex couple who were denied the right to register their union in Aruba.

Aruba refused to recognise same-sex marriages in 2005 although it did legalise homosexual relations between consenting adults in private.

According to Advocate.com, the couple filed a case to repel the decision and won both their lawsuit and a subsequent appeal by Aruba’s government.

The Netherlands’ supreme court found that laws drawn up in the Netherlands, Aruba or the Netherlands Antilles are valid through the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

Aruba is a 32km-long island in the Caribbean Sea that lies 27 km north of the Paraguaná Peninusla and Venezuela.

The country was granted partial independence from the Netherlands in 1986.

Although the country is self-governed it remains a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands forming a commonwealth with the State of the Netherlands and the State of the Netherlands Antilles.

The Netherlands is well-known for its liberal policies on issues such as sexual orientation.

It was one of the first countries to introduce legislation offering protection to LGBT people.

In 1993 the Dutch parliament passed the Equal Rights Law which included sexual orientation as a basis for anti-discrimination policy.

In 1998 domestic partnerships benefits were afforded to same-sex couples and in 2001 same-sex marriage was given legal recognition.

There is general public support for equal rights for gay and lesbians in the country and in 2006 a EU poll found the Dutch to be the strongest supports of same-sex marriage.

The country is also a popular destination for the world’s LGBT community.

Amsterdam in particular attracts a large gay following and its annual gay pride festival will kick off on 3 August.