World’s First Same-Sex Marriages Celebrated 20 Years Later In The Netherlands

Although they couldn’t throw a big party due to the pandemic, Gert Kasteel and Dolf Pasker marked their 20th wedding anniversary on April 1st 2021 by flipping through photo albums at their home in Holland.

Gert and Dolf were among the four same-sex couples -- three gay couples and one lesbian couple -- who made history in 2001, when the Mayor of Amsterdam married them under the new Dutch law allowing marriage equality; the first in the modern world.

“I’m very proud that it’s possible,” Gert told Reuters, before Dolf jumped in to finish his sentence; “that we could play a little part of it. We made history.”

All four marriages have stood the test of time, although one of the men, Frank Wittebrood, died of a heart attack in 2011 at age 55, Reuters reports.

On Thursday, the city of Amsterdam marked the 20th anniversary of the country’s marriage equality law by floating a huge inflatable pink cake with candles spouting rainbow flames through the city’s canals. 

There was also a large rainbow flag strung from the bell tower of the landmark Western Church, next to the Anne Frank House museum, according to the LA Times.

Henk Krol, a lawmaker who supported the law when it passed the Dutch parliament in 2000, said people told him they would be the first and the last country to legalize same-sex marriage.

“[They] told me... the rest of the world won’t follow you,” Krol said. “Almost 30 countries in the world followed the Dutch example.”

Posted by Brit Smith

Brit Smith is a Staff Writer & Associate Editor at GWK. A native of London, England, she started her American adventure nannying and waiting tables in Texas in 2006, and eventually graduated magna cum laude from the University of California, Berkeley in 2017 with a BA in Biological Anthropology. She now lives in Massachusetts with her husband and their dogs Cosmo and Juno. Brit has previously written and created podcasts for WBZ NewsRadio, iHeart Media, and Different Leaf.



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