Edward Brongersma

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Edward Brongersma (born in Haarlem, Netherlands, on August 31, 1911 and died in Bloemendaal/Overveen, Netherlands on April 22, 1998) was a Dutch politician and doctor of law. For a number of years (two periods, 1945-1950 and 1963-1977) he was a member of the Dutch Senate for the Labour Party, and chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee (1969–1977). He was primarily known as a defender of the rights of paedophiles and an advocate of more liberal legislation on public morality.

Contents

Early life

Brongersma was born in Haarlem as the son of an ophthalmologist. He studied law at the University of Amsterdam (1931-1935) and obtained his degree in 1935. From 1935 to 1937 he was associated with a law firm in Haarlem while working on his doctoral dissertation on the Portuguese constitution of 1933 and Portuguese corporatism of Antonio de Oliveira Salazar, who he much admired at the time. In 1940 he received his Doctor of Law degree cum laude from the Catholic University of Nijmegen. His dissertation, on the subject of the corporative state in Portugal, was published as a book and was reprinted several times.

Career

After World War II he quickly made a career for himself as a lawyer and politician as well as a prolific writer. He worked as an attorney in Amsterdam from 1940 to 1950, and between 1946 and 1950 he was active within the editorial board of the Dutch journal for the legal profession, Nederlands Juristenblad. In 1946, he was elected to the Dutch Senate for the Dutch Labour Party (PvdA); his term lasted from 1946 to 1950 and later he had a second term, from 1963 to 1977. In the same period (1946-1950), he was a member for the Dutch abour Party of the Provincial States of North Holland and served on the town council of Heemstede.

His career was abruptly interrupted in 1950, when he was arrested for having sexual relations with a 17-year-old male. At the time, the age of consent for homosexual contacts was 21, based on article (248a) Dutch Civil Code. The conviction of Brongersma resulted in 11 months imprisonment.

He subsequently continued his career in the 1950s as a journalist and criticist. From 1953 to 1956, he was a member of the executive committee of the Dutch Labour Party in the Utrecht region. In 1956 he was recruited for a four-year term as director of community work in Haarlem. As a result of his conviction, he had been disbarred in 1950, but re-admitted to the Dutch Bar in 1959. He resumed his legal practice and continued to work as a lawyer until 1980.

From 1960 to 1967, he was a senior lecturer at the Criminological Institute of Utrecht University, where he worked very closely with Professor of Law W. Pompe. In 1963, at the request of the Dutch Labour Party, he rejoined the Senate for a second term which would last until his resignation in 1977. From 1969 to 1977 he was chairman and spokesman for the Permanent Senate's Committee for Justice. For his political service, he was made a Companion in the Order of the Dutch Lion on 29 April 1975.

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