Gay Marriage in the Netherlands

In the Netherlands, same-sex marriage (Dutch: Huwelijk tussen personen van gelijk geslacht or commonly homohuwelijk) has been legal since 1 April 2001.The Netherlands was the first country in the world to legalize same-sex marriage.

The law came into effect on 1 April 2001, and on that day four same-sex couples were married by the Mayor of Amsterdam, Job Cohen, who became a registrar specifically to officiate at the weddings. A few months earlier, Mayor Cohen had been junior Minister of Justice of the Netherlands and was responsible for putting the new marriage and adoption laws through parliament.

Dutch law requires either partner must have Dutch nationality or to reside in the Netherlands. The marriageable age in the Netherlands is 18, or below 18 with parental consent. The law is only valid in the European territory of the Netherlands and on the Caribbean Islands of Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba, but does not apply to the other constituent countries of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

According to provisional figures from Statistics Netherlands, for the first six months, same-sex marriages made up 3.6% of the total number of marriages: a peak of around 6% in the first month followed by around 3% in the remaining months: about 2,100 men and 1,700 women in total. By June 2004, more than 6,000 same-sex marriages had been performed in the Netherlands.

In March 2006, Statistics Netherlands released estimates on the number of same-sex marriages performed in each year: 2,500 in 2001, 1,800 in 2002, 1,200 in 2004, and 1,100 in 2005.

From 2001 to 2011 there were 14,813 same-sex marriages, 7,522 between two women and 7,291 between two men. In the same period there were 761,010 heterosexual marriages. There were also 1,078 same-sex divorces.

On 1 January 1998, registered partnerships (Dutch: geregistreerd partnerschap) were introduced in Dutch law. The partnerships were meant for same-sex couples as an alternative to marriage, though they can also be entered into by opposite-sex couples, and in fact about one third of the registered partnerships between 1998 and 2001 were of opposite-sex couples. In law, registered partnerships and marriage convey the same rights and duties, especially after some laws were changed to remedy inequalities with respect to inheritance and some other issues.

Unregistered partnerships or informal cohabitation is when same-sex or opposite sex couples live together as a couple but they choose to keep the legal status of their relationship unregistered or informal. This means all worldwide assets that belong to a single party remain the sole property of the party with no legal entitlement by the other party, whether owned before or acquired during the relationship. This legal status of unregistered partnership is respected by Dutch courts.

According to the Ifop poll, conducted in May 2013, 85% of the Dutch supported allowing same-sex couples to marry and adopt children.

The 2015 Eurobarometer found that 91% of the Dutch thought that same-sex marriage should be allowed throughout Europe, 7% were against.

This article uses material from the Wikipedia article Same-sex marriage in the Netherlands, which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.