On this day April 1: the Netherlands, first gay weddings

first gay weddings april 1 netherlands
Image: AP Archive, YouTube.

On April 1, 2001, the first legal gay weddings of the modern era took place in the Netherlands. The Netherlands had become the first country to legalise same-sex marriage the previous December.

Scroll down to watch the vid of the first gay weddings in the Netherlands.

The Netherlands long led the way on LGBTIQ+ rights with same-sex sexual activity decriminalised in 1811. Before that time, widespread persecution of homosexuals in the country saw numerous executions and other violent punishments.

The Nazis introduced a law prohibiting same-sex sexual activity during their WWII occupation. But the Dutch immediately repealed the law following the German defeat.

Dutch gay rights activists started advocating for same-sex marriage in the mid-1980s. In 1995, the government formed a commission to investigate the issue. The commission recommended in 1997 that the country extend civil marriage to same-sex couples. The subsequent legislation then passed the Dutch Parliament in 2000 with only Christian parties voting against.

Just after the stroke of midnight

By the time the legislation came into effect, the top government official involved in drafting the law was now the mayor of Amsterdam. At the suggestion of gay rights activist Henk Krol, Mayor Job Cohen opened city hall and married one female and three male couples just after the stroke of midnight on April 1.

“You are writing history,” the mayor told the assembled grooms and brides in the specially decorated city hall.

“There are two reasons to rejoice: you are celebrating your marriage and you are also celebrating your right to be married.”

In 2021, three of the couples married that night celebrated their 20th wedding anniversaries. The fourth couple remained married until the death of one of the grooms from a heart attack a few days before their 10th wedding anniversary.

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Destiny Rogers

Destiny Rogers embarked on her career in the media industry immediately after high school, initially joining Mirror News, which later evolved into News Ltd. She fondly recalls editing Ian Byford's 'Passing Glances: A History of Gay Cairns' as one of her most fulfilling projects. Additionally, Destiny co-researched and co-wrote 'The Queen's Ball', chronicling the history of the world's longest-running continuous queer event. Her investigative work on the history of Australia's COON Cheese and Edward Coon culminated in the publication 'COON: More Holes than Swiss Cheese', a collaborative effort with Dr. Stephen Hagan. Destiny's journey at QNews began as a feature writer, and she was subsequently elevated to the role of Managing Editor of QNews Magazine in 2018. However, in July 2022, she decided to resign from this role to refocus on research and feature writing. For contact, please reach out at destinyr@qnews.com.au.

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