World’s First Same-Sex Couple to Marry Celebrates 20th Wedding Anniversary This Year

Dutch couple Gert Kasteel and Dolf Pasker made history with the world’s very first same-sex wedding. Now, they’re celebrating their 20th anniversary! Read on for the full story.

World’s First Same-Sex Couple to Marry Celebrates 20th Wedding Anniversary This Year

On April 1, 2001, the Netherlands led the way to marriage equality by becoming the first country to legalize same-sex weddings. Shortly after midnight on that landmark day, Kasteel and Pasker joined three other couples in making history as the very first legally wed gay and lesbian couples. On that historical night, according to US News, Mayor Job Cohen — who officiated over the ceremonies — said,

“There are two reasons to rejoice. You are celebrating your marriage, and you are also celebrating your right to be married.″

On Thursday (yesterday), Dolf and Gert celebrated their 20th anniversary among a small group of friends and family. COVID-19 prevented any larger celebrations. While flipping through a wedding album filled with photos and newspaper clippings, Dolf told Reuters,

“It’s nicer to say to other people ‘he’s my husband, he’s my man. It has helped me to accept myself.”

According to Reuters, all four of those first gay and lesbian weddings stood the test of time. Sadly, though, Frank Wittebrood- one half of one of the gay couples- passed away in 2011 from a heart attack. Henk Krol, one of the lawmakers instrumental in passing the world’s first marriage equality law, talked about what others said to him all those years ago.

“People told me that the Netherlands would be the first and the last country (to pass same-sex marriages), the rest of the world won’t follow you.”

More than 30 nations followed the Netherlands example

Today, more than 30 countries have marriage equality laws on their books, including (in order of when same-sex marriage laws went into effect)

How to Celebrate an Epic Year of Fi...
How to Celebrate an Epic Year of Firsts
  1. The Netherlands
  2. Belgium
  3. Canada
  4. Spain
  5. South Africa
  6. Norway
  7. Sweden
  8. Argentina
  9. Portugal
  10. Iceland
  11. Denmark
  12. Uraguay
  13. Brazil
  14. New Zealand
  15. England & Wales
  16. France
  17. Luxemburg
  18. Scotland
  19. United States
  20. Ireland
  21. Finland
  22. Greenland
  23. Columbia
  24. Malta
  25. Australia
  26. Germany
  27. Austria
  28. Taiwan
  29. Ecuador
  30. Northern Ireland
  31. Costa Rica

It’s a far cry from global marriage equality. With roughly 195 countries in the world, it’s not even 1/3. Still, it’s a start, and it’s definitely enough for Krol to tell critics to “eat crow,” so to speak. Gert says that he’s very proud that it’s possible (referring to gay marriage). His husband Dolf jumped in to finish his sentence, adding, “…“that we could play a little part of it. We made history.”

Congratulations to Dolf and Gert on their 20th wedding anniversary, and to all gay and lesbian couples celebrating anniversaries around the world today and every day.

What do you think of the world’s first same-sex couple to legally wed celebrating 20 years together? How would you congratulate them? Share below.

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