Gay marriage in the Netherlands
celebrated its tenth anniversary Friday.
Amsterdam Mayor Eberhard van der Laan
marked the occasion with a wedding ceremony, the AFP reported.
In marrying Jan van Breda and his
partner Thijs Timmermans at the Museum of History, the mayor told the
couple, “Your personal ceremony takes place in a wider context.”
“It is exactly 10 years ago today
that the first same-sex marriage was celebrated by my predecessor.”
Der Laan was referring to the world's
first legal gay marriage between Helene Faasen and Anne Marie Thus.
The women married in a ceremony officiated by then-mayor Job Cohen
after the Netherlands became the first country to legalize gay
marriage. Cohen also married three male gay couples during the
Such marriages make up about 2 percent
of the country's total number of marriages between 2001 and 2010,
nearly 15,000 couples, the news agency reported.
Nine other countries have followed the
Netherlands' lead, including Belgium, Spain, Canada, South Africa,
Norway, Sweden, Portugal, Iceland and Argentina. The gay marriages
of the autonomous city-state of Mexico City are recognized throughout
the country. Five states and the District of Columbia have legalized
gay marriage in the United States.
But despite 10 years of gay marriage
Vera Bergkamp of the Amsterdam-based gay rights group COC says
“Some officials still refuse to marry
homosexual couples,” she told the AFP. “Having the right to get
married does not necessarily mean that it is accepted by society. On
this level, there is still work to be done.”