Netherlands Celebrates 20 Years Since Being First Country to Legalize Same-Sex Marriage

Today 20 years ago at the strike of midnight, the mayor of Amsterdam married 4 gay couples as the Netherlands became the first country in the world to legalise same-sex marriage

It's important to look back and remember significant milestones in history, especially when they played a major part in making the world a better and more equitable place for all. Just 20 years ago, four same-sex couples made history when they were married at the stroke of midnight on April 1 in Amsterdam. It was then that the Netherlands became the first country in the world to legalize same-sex marriage. “There are two reasons to rejoice,″ Amsterdam’s then-Mayor Job Cohen told the couples after officiating the ceremonies. ″You are celebrating your marriage, and you are also celebrating your right to be married.″

In a world where, in many countries, Pride is now an annual celebration and LGBTQ+ rights are much more widely accepted, 20 years might sound shockingly recent. However, with that historic ceremony, the Netherlands became a trailblazer—leading by example in the effort for LGBTQ+ rights around the world. Today, the country celebrates the pivotal two-decade milestone with a variety of events that include a large inflatable pink cake with rainbow-flamed candles floating down Amsterdam’s iconic canals.

All four of the history-making couples have stood the test of time and now celebrate their 20th anniversary with the rest of the world, though one of the men, Frank Wittebrood, died of a heart attack in 2011 at the age of 55.

Since that night 20 years ago, 28 countries worldwide have followed the Netherlands ’ example by legalizing same-sex marriage. Though the fight for LGBTQ+ rights is far from over, this historic event gave hope to many around the world and continues to light the way towards a better future.

At the stroke of midnight on April 1, 2001, four same-sex couples were married in Amsterdam as the Netherlands became the first country in the world to legalize same-sex marriage.

Embed from Getty Images

Today, the country celebrates the historic milestone—marking it by floating a large pink cake with rainbow candles down Amsterdam's iconic canals.

Have a look back at this historic moment when the Netherlands became a trailblazer in the global fight for LGBTQ+ rights.

h/t: [Reddit]

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Arnesia Young

Arnesia Young is a contributing writer for My Modern Met and an aspiring art historian. She holds a BA in Art History and Curatorial Studies with a minor in Design from Brigham Young University. With a love and passion for the arts, culture, and all things creative, she finds herself intrigued by the creative process and is constantly seeking new ways to explore and understand it.
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