Twenty years ago, Netherlands became the first country to legalise same-sex marriage, and since then, about 30 other countries have followed it’s footsteps.
“People told me that the Netherlands would be the first and the last country (to pass same-sex marriages), the rest of the world won’t follow you,” said Henk Krol, a lawmaker who supported the bill when it passed the Dutch parliament in 2000. “Almost 30 countries in the world followed the Dutch example,” he said.
Most European Union countries, Britain, the United States, Australia, Mexico and South Africa are among 29 nations to have legalised same-sex marriage since 2001.
Gert Kasteel and Dolf Pasker: Dutch Couple makes history by being the first couple to have a same-sex marriage
Dutch couple Gert Kasteel and Dolf Pasker were the ones who made history when they tied the knot in the world’s first legally-recognised same-sex wedding in the Amsterdam, Netherlands.
“I’m very proud that it’s possible,” said Gert, and his husband Dolf continued: “that we could play a little part of it. We made history.”
Three more gay couples, two male and one female, followed Gert and Dolf and married shortly after midnight by the mayor of Amsterdam on April 1, 2001.
Amsterdam also celebrated the 20th Anniversary of the first same-sex marriage
A huge inflatable pink cake with candles spouting rainbow flames floated through the Amsterdam canals on Thursday as the Capital celebrated the 20th anniversary of the world’s first legal same-sex marriages.
Amsterdam also flew a huge rainbow flag from the bell tower of the landmark Wester Church next to the Anne Frank House museum. Later, the city was holding an online symposium, and it designated a “rainbow walk” route along 20 sites considered important in the struggle for LGBTQ rights.
Of course, despite the progress that we’ve had in the various countries regarding same-sex marriages, we still have a long long way to go in making sure that all the LGBTQ members get their rights.
“If you had told me 20 years ago that today same-sex marriage would be a reality in 29 countries, I would not have believed you,” said Jessica Stern, executive director of the global LGBTQ-rights group OutRight Action International.
However, she also pointed out how behind the world is regarding LGBTQ acceptance, with nearly 70 countries continuing to criminalise same-sex relations and many of them trying to provide a ‘therapy’ for conversion.
“The progress has been great, no doubt. But we have a long road ahead,” Stern said.
But COC, Netherlands’ largest LGBTQ rights organisation, also said that even two decades after the first same-sex marriage, work toward full equality is not complete in their country. LGBTQ people “still regularly face exclusion, violence and discrimination”, the organisation said in a statement.
Dolf Pasker agrees to the statement, though he admitted that it has not affected his marriage. “In our private life it could not be better,” he said. “But we know from newspaper, television and people we speak (to) that there still are homophobic people and there is some aggression to gay people. That’s still a problem.”
He knows that others around the world don’t have it as easy in this situation as he did, and he hopes that all homosexual people around the world can get to experience the same freeing life as he did.
“We wish all gay people in the world that they can have a life as we can live. It’s very important,” Pasker said.