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The Netherlands celebrates 10 years of marriage equality

Today marks the 10th anniversary of marriage equality in the Netherlands.  At midnight on April 1, 2001, Amsterdam’s mayor Job Cohen officiated at the marriage ceremony of four gay and lesbian couples.  The event is widely viewed as a turning point in the worldwide struggle for gay equality.

Ten years on, I can say that among my Dutch friends and family, gay marriage is a complete non-issue.  However, for Dutch gays, the struggle continues.  Like American couples married in one of the five equality states (Iowa, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Vermont and New Hampshire), Dutch couples face the loss of rights and status when they cross the border.  At home, barriers still exist to parentage and access to IVF, and municipal officials are still allowed to refuse to solumnize marriages for gay and lesbian couples.

Despite the ongoing need bring rights for gays into parity with rights for heterosexuals, today is a day to celebrate this huge milestone.  We’ve all come so far, and we’re never going back!

Check out this photo exhibit celebrating 10 years of marriage equality, now on display at the Amsterdam city hall.  Below is a video featuring commentary by some of the couples and government officials involved in making marriage equality a reality then and now.

Here are a few Dutch marriage facts from Radio Netherlands (here and here):

  • The world’s first gay wedding took place at midnight on 1 April 2001, when Amsterdam Mayor Job Cohen married four same-sex couples.
  • Between 1 April 2001 and 1 January 2011, there were a total of 14,813 same-sex marriages in the Netherlands. The number of marriages between two women (7,522) was slightly higher than those between two men (7,291). In the same period, there were 761,010 marriages.
  • One fifth (19.5%) of all marriages were gay; In the same period, there were a total of 761,010 marriages and 323,549 divorces. Note from Laurel: Wild Clover points out that the 19% figure must be incorrect and after consulting other online sources I agree.  Perhaps the reporter of the erroneous statistic may have gotten it confused with this statement: “Since 1 April 2001, when the Netherlands became the first country to legalise same-sex marriage, some 15,000 gay and lesbian couples have tied the knot.   That is two percent of all marriages celebrated in Holland, and just 20 percent of the 55,000 same-sex couples the country numbers.”
  • During that period, there were 1,078 same-sex divorces in the Netherlands, two-thirds of them between women (734), and 323,549 divorces in general.
  • Ten countries have legalised same-sex marriage: the Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Canada, South Africa, Norway, Sweden, Portugal, Iceland and Argentina. In the United States it has been legalised in five states: Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont, as well as Washington, D.C.. In Mexico it has been legalised in Mexico City.
  • The total number of same-sex marriages in these countries is not clear. In many relevant statistics are not available, and in some such unions were only legalised last year. In Belgium there were 13,055 same-sex marriages between 2004 and 2009.
  • Still the exception – just 20 percent of same-sex couples are married in the Netherlands, compared with 80 percent of mixed-sex couples.
  • Both straight and gay couples prefer to tie the knot in spring or summer
  • CommunityMy FDL

    The Netherlands celebrates 10 years of marriage equality

    Today marks the 10th anniversary of marriage equality in the Netherlands.  At midnight on April 1, 2001, Amsterdam’s mayor Job Cohen officiated at the marriage ceremony of four gay and lesbian couples.  The event is widely viewed as a turning point in the worldwide struggle for gay equality.

    Ten years on, I can say that among my Dutch friends and family, gay marriage is a complete non-issue.  However, for Dutch gays, the struggle continues.  Like American couples married in one of the five equality states (Iowa, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Vermont and New Hampshire), Dutch couples face the loss of rights and status when they cross the border.  At home, barriers still exist to parentage and access to IVF, and municipal officials are still allowed to refuse to solumnize marriages for gay and lesbian couples.

    Despite the ongoing need bring rights for gays into parity with rights for heterosexuals, today is a day to celebrate this huge milestone.  We’ve all come so far, and we’re never going back!

    Check out this photo exhibit celebrating 10 years of marriage equality, now on display at the Amsterdam city hall.  Below is a video featuring commentary by some of the couples and government officials involved in making marriage equality a reality then and now.

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