Amsterdam celebrates same-sex marriages 20 years since the world’s first.
A giant inflatable pink cake decorated with rainbow-colored candles glided through Amsterdam’s canals Thursday to mark the twentieth anniversary of the world’s first legal same-sex marriages.
However, even as the city celebrated a landmark moment in LGBTQ rights, its mayor claimed that equality remained a work in progress.
“At the same time, now is a time to recognize that the fight is far from over; not internationally, not nationally, and definitely not in Amsterdam,” Mayor Femke Halsema told The Associated Press.
After the landmark case in Amsterdam two decades ago, same-sex marriage has been legalized in 28 countries around the world, including Taiwan’s self-governing island.
Thursday marked the twentieth anniversary of Gert Kasteel and Dolf Pasker’s marriage. It’s an anniversary made all the more memorable by the fact that they were one of the first four couples to marry shortly after midnight on April 1, 2001.
They were married in a ceremony presided over by then-Mayor of Amsterdam Job Cohen, in a wedding that received worldwide attention.
“It’s wonderful to look back and see how young we were,” Pasker said after a viewing of video of the wedding the evening before the anniversary.
Additionally, Amsterdam commemorated the anniversary by flying a massive rainbow flag from the bell tower of the iconic Wester Church church next to the Anne Frank House museum.
Later that year, the city hosted an online symposium and named a “rainbow stroll” path through 20 locations connected with the fight for LGBTQ rights.
Mayor Sharon Dijksma of Utrecht officiated the marriage of Romy Schouten and Jeannette van Nus and stated that the wedding ceremony should serve as a model for others.
“To all the boys and girls sitting at home thinking, ‘Maybe I have feelings for people of the same sex but am afraid to say it,’ the message here is: You should be yourself,” Dijksma said.
On a warm spring evening Wednesday, as he sat with his husband at a table in their backyard in a small town near Amsterdam, Pasker expressed satisfaction that the path they blazed has been followed by a number of other nations.
“Nearly 30 countries adopted the Netherlands, which is quite an accomplishment. Very beneficial for gay people and society as a whole, I believe, because it is important for everyone to feel at home in society “‘He said.
Henk Krol, the former editor of the Netherlands’ largest gay newspaper, described same-sex marriage as the country’s “most beautiful intangible export” this week.
However, COC, the country’s largest LGBTQ rights group, noted that even two decades after the first same-sex marriage, the Netherlands has not achieved complete equality.
LGBTQ individuals “continue to face isolation, harassment, and bigotry on a daily basis,” the organization said in a statement.