When the first same-sex marriage happened
Before the US Supreme Court decision last 2015, one could get a same-sex marriage but it had to happen in secret. This was happening for decades, but they were neither sanctioned by the government nor by the various churches or religions.
That’s why you have to hand it to the Dutch in that they were the first in everything: from legalizing brothels to allowing euthanasia and selling marijuana in coffee shops.
More importantly, they were the first country in the world to allow marriages between two people of the same sex 15 years ago today.
Same-sex marriage at the stroke of midnight
On April 1, 2001, three gay couples and one lesbian couple were the first to officially exchange marital vows in the Netherlands.
These four couples went down in history as the first in the LGBT community to be recognized as legally married.
“There are two reasons to rejoice: you are celebrating your marriage and you are also celebrating your right to be married,” Amsterdam Mayor Job Cohen told the couples after they exchanged “I do’s” at the city hall.
“We are so ordinary, if you saw us on the street you’d just walk past us,” Anne-Marie Thus, who married Helene Faasen, said after the televised ceremony.
The couples walked down the aisle at the stroke of midnight when the law was officially enacted.
“I admit that 10 years ago I didn’t understand why homosexuals were making such a big deal out of civil marriage. Now I know better,” Cohen said after the ceremony.
The Dutch law allowing same-sex marriage
It was a long and bumpy road for the Dutch before the law was finally approved, a 15-year struggle for the LGBT community in Netherland to be granted the right to marry.
Prior to this, Denmark was the first country to recognize civil partnership between same-sex couples in 1989 but they never passed the law allowing marriages.
Still, as in any firsts, there were limits to the law put into effect by the government of the Netherlands.
Only Dutch nationals and foreigners residing in the Netherlands– with their Dutch partners– were allowed to get married in the country.
Likewise, same-sex couples were not allowed to adopt foreign children as this could cause problems with other countries not friendly with same-sex partnerships.
Opposition to same-sex marriage
Belgium followed suit in June 2003 when they also enacted their own law. However, they faced strong opposition from Vatican when it launched a global campaign against gay marriage.
In Catholic Spain, same-sex marriage was allowed in 2005, even as a 600,000-member Catholic group rallied against it. That was 15 years ago.
So much has changed in the LGBT global landscape today, especially with the US allowing same-sex marriage. Moreover, everyone now knows better now.