The first of April is a very important date for the LBGT movement. 15 years ago in Amsterdam, the first official and legal same-sex marriages were performed by the Mayor – Job Cohen. For the first time in history same-sex marriages were recognized as equal to opposite-sex marriage.
The road to reaching this achievement was long and difficult. In Europe, Denmark was the first country to officially recognize same-sex couples in 1989, with the possibility to be registered as being in a domestic partnership.
The legalization process of same-sex marriage in the Netherlands was started by Henk Krol – chief editor of the famous magazine Gay Krant, and main spokesman for the People's Party for Freedom and Democracy from 1978 until 1985. During this time Krol officially requested the Dutch government to allow people of the same-sex to be able to get married legally.
In response, the Dutch government formed an official commission in 1995 to investigate the legislative possibility of same-sex marriages. In 1997, the commission released a report in which it was officially stated that same-sex couples should be have equal rights in terms of marriage.
This led finally to the Dutch parliament launching a debate on the issue in September 2000. Later that year in December, the Dutch government officially amended the bill, by adding the following:
Een huwelijk kan worden aangegaan door twee personen van verschillend of van gelijk geslacht.
(A marriage can be entered into by two persons of opposing or the same sex)
Exactly 15 years ago, on the first of April 2001, the first few same-sex couples were officially married by the Mayor of Amsterdam.
Nowadays we see many more countries following the example of the Netherlands, with the most recent examples being the USA and Ireland. Still it is worth remembering that the Netherlands became the pacemaker in progress for the world on the 1st of April 2001.