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Dutch {couples} mark 20th anniversary of world’s first same-sex marriages

AMSTERDAM – Twenty years ago, the Dutch couple Gert Kasteel and Dolf Pasker made history when they tied the knot at the world’s first legally recognized same-sex wedding in the Netherlands.

They were among four gay couples – three men and one woman – who were married by the Mayor of Amsterdam on April 1, 2001, shortly after midnight.

On Thursday, they celebrated their 20th anniversary in small groups or at home due to COVID-19’s social distancing rules that prevented large gatherings.

“It’s nicer to tell other people he’s my husband, he’s my husband,” said Dolf, who sat next to Gert and leafed through an album of photos and newspaper clippings of the wedding that made headlines around the world. “It helped me accept myself.”

All four gay marriages have stood the test of time. One of the men, Frank Wittebrood, died of a heart attack in 2011 at the age of 55.

The participants looked back with pride at having made legal history.

“People told me that the Netherlands would be the first and the last country (to get same-sex marriages), the rest of the world won’t follow you,” said Henk Krol, a lawmaker who supported the law when it did Law passed by the Dutch Parliament in 2000.

“Almost 30 countries in the world followed the Dutch example,” he said.

Most of the European Union countries, Great Britain, the United States, Australia, Mexico, and South Africa are among the 29 nations that have legalized same-sex marriage since 2001.

“I am very proud that it is possible,” said Gert, who, before he could complete his sentence, let Dolf step in to end it: “that we could play a small part in it.” We made history. “

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