On 1 June 2003, Belgium became the second country in the world to legalize same-sex marriage, after the Netherlands. “Statutory cohabitation”, open to any two cohabiting persons, is also possible since 1 January 2000.
King Albert II signed and promulgated the bill on 13 February 2003 and on 28 February it was published in the Belgian Official Journal and came into force on 1 June.
The first female couple married on 6 June 2003 and the first male couple on 13 June 2003, both in Kapellen near Antwerp.
In November 2003, opponents of same-sex marriage petitioned the Arbitration Court to invalidate the law as unconstitutional. Their main argument held that treating fundamentally different situations the same way, violates the equality principle of the Constitution. In October 2004, the Arbitration Court, nowadays known as the Constitutional Court, rejected the request.
The 2006 Eurobarometer found that 62% of Belgian respondents think same-sex marriages should be allowed in Europe.
A 2008 survey by Delta Lloyd Life found that 76% of Belgians accept same-sex marriage and 46% of Belgians think same-sex couples can raise children just as well as opposite-sex couples can.
A May 2013 Ipsos poll found that 67% of respondents were in favour of same-sex marriage and another 12% supported other form of recognition for same-sex couples.
According to the Ifop poll, conducted in May 2013, 71% of Belgians supported allowing same-sex couples to marry and adopt children.
The 2015 Eurobarometer found that 77% of Belgians thought that same-sex marriage should be allowed throughout Europe, 20% were against.
This article uses material from the Wikipedia article Same-sex marriage in Belgium, which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.