Equality - In our world - The Netherlands

The Netherlands

On April 1, 2001, The Netherlands became the first country in the world to legalize marriage for gays and lesbians. The following statement was released by EGALE:

At midnight on the evening of Saturday, March 31, four same-sex couples were joined in marriage in the City Hall of Amsterdam. These couples had previously registered their partnerships under Dutch law, but converted those “registered partnerships” into marriages. Over 6,000 same-sex couples have registered their partnerships in the Netherlands since 1998; surveys suggest that more than How Holland Did It - Our interview with Dr. Kees Waaldijk60% of these couples would seek to convert their partnership into a marriage.

Here, in Canada, news of the entry into force of the Dutch legislation was greeted with elation by same-sex couples seeking the right to marry. The federal government’s position, which bans same-sex couples from marrying, is currently being challenged in court cases in B.C., Ontario and Quebec. Couples involved in those cases today called upon Canada to follow the Netherlands’ lead.

Robin Roberts and Diana Denny, who have raised four children together in the course of their 17-year relationship, made the following statement:

“For heterosexual people, it's a given that they have the choice to marry. So far, it's a given in this country that people in same-sex relationships don't have the right to choose to marry. That is unfair, as we are equally contributing citizens in every other way. We are two women who have worked really hard to raise four good citizens of this country and have continued to love each other in a supportive, nurturing way for all these years, and we deserve to be given the chance to honour each other in a formal, legal commitment. We are elated that the people of the Netherlands understand this, and look forward to the day when the Government of Canada, so well known internationally for its human rights record, will do the same.”

Reverend Brent Hawkes, pastor of Metropolitan Community Church of Toronto (MCCT), re-stated his support for the progressive legislation in the Netherlands: “We look forward to the day, when Canada embraces the diversity of all people, and legally recognizes what God already knows - that love has no bounds”.

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