It was 10 years ago April 1 that the Netherlands became the first nation in the world to let same-sex couples marry, and four couples tied the knot at midnight in the Amsterdam City Council chambers. From left: Gert Kasteel and Dolf Pasker, Helene Faasen and Anne-Marie Thus, Ton Jansen and Louis Rogmans, and Peter Wittebrood-Lemke and Frank Wittebrood. It was 10 years ago April 1 that the Netherlands became the first nation in the world to let same-sex couples marry, and four couples tied the knot at midnight in the Amsterdam City Council chambers. From left: Gert Kasteel and Dolf Pasker, Helene Faasen and Anne-Marie Thus, Ton Jansen and Louis Rogmans, and Peter Wittebrood-Lemke and Frank Wittebrood. Photo by John Hein/ScotsGay
Monday, August 29 2011 10:59

International News, Apr 15 - Apr 28, 2011

By  Rex Wockner

10 Years of Same-Sex Marriage in the Netherlands

It was 10 years ago April 1 that the Netherlands became the first nation in the world to let same-sex couples marry. Now same-sex marriage is legal in 12 nations, including in five U.S. states and the District of Columbia, and the Netherlands has seen  nearly 15,000 same-sex marriages.


This reporter was present for the first Dutch gay weddings on April 1, 2001, and wrote: “Amid an international media frenzy, the  weddings took place at City Hall as the law became effective at the stroke of midnight. Mayor Job Cohen officiated. As Cohen  finished his opening remarks at 11:58 p.m., the audience in the City Council chambers began syncopated clapping as they waited for  the room’s clock to click over to 12:00. When it clicked, cheers erupted. Cohen read the marriage vows once for each couple and  they individually responded, ‘Yes.’ Each couple shook hands, kissed and signed documents which were then signed by the mayor. A  reception followed in the City Council foyer and the couples departed in four brightly colored Volkswagen Beetles for a party at a gay  club.”

In the intervening 10 years, 14,813 of the Netherlands’ 55,000 gay couples have gotten married, according to Statistics Netherlands.  Of those couples, 7,522 were female and 7,291 were male. There have been 1,078 same-sex divorces, 734 of them  by female couples.


Ugandan Anti-Homosexuality Bill Reportedly Dropped

Uganda’s Parliament reportedly has dropped consideration of the notorious Anti- Homosexuality Bill that has been pending since  2009. The measure would imprison for life anyone convicted of “the offense of homosexuality,” punish “aggravated homosexuality”  (repeat offenses, or having gay sex while being HIV-positive) with the death penalty, forbid “promotion of  homosexuality” and incarcerate gay-rights defenders, and jail individuals in positions of authority for up to three years if they fail to  report within 24 hours the existence of all LGBT people or sympathizers known to them. Ugandan LGBT activists are not relaxing,  however, because in announcing that the bill is being abandoned, a government spokesman added that “most” of the same provisions are contained in another active bill, the Sexual Offenses Bill. No details were provided.


IGLHRC: LGBT Haitians Ignored in Quake Recovery Efforts

According to a report issued March 28 by the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission and Haiti’s SEROvie, “violence and discrimination against (Haitian) LGBT people has increased since the January 2010 earthquake” and their needs  during the recovery period have been “completely ignored.”

“U.N. agencies, private organizations, and governments must recognize the horrible impact of the Haiti disaster on LGBT people,”  said Cary Alan Johnson, IGLHRC’s executive director. “While the needs of some marginalized groups are at least acknowledged,  LGBT people are completely ignored.”

The findings detailed in the IGLRHC/SEROvie briefing paper are based on more than 50 interviews the groups conducted with  LGBT people and representatives of relief organizations, the United Nations and diplomatic missions. For the full document, see tinyurl.com/iglhrchaiti.


ILGA-Europe Launches Major Documentation Project

ILGA-Europe — the European Region of the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association — has launched a  large-scale project to document the advance of LGBT rights and related social changes across the continent. “Rainbow Europe:  ILGA-Europe Annual Report on the Situation for LGBTI People in Europe” will appear on the group’s website at the beginning of  next year.

The project will track legislation and policy, statements by politicians and other prominent or influential individuals, law-enforcement activity, court activity, research and polls, LGBTI-movement developments, and other areas. It also will follow all LGBTI-related developments at the United Nations, the Council of Europe, the European Union and the Organization for Security and  Cooperation in Europe.

“For European decision makers, politicians, media, researchers and students this will be an ‘all in one’ annual document providing  them with an overview of the situation across Europe,” said Communications Manager Juris Lavrikovs. “We believe this will be a valuable tool to advocacy work on the national level as the advocates at the national level will be able to compare their countries,  to measure their national situation and developments to established European standards and consequently build stronger claims  and arguments.”

The project will rely, in part, on information provided by activists on the ground. Information can be submitted to  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

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