has registered more than 8,000 same-sex marriages since
such unions were legalized almost five years ago, but their
numbers are falling, according to official statistics
reported by Agence France-Presse.
During the first
year, 2,414 couples tied the knot, followed by 1,838 and
1,499 in 2002 and 2003, respectively. In 2004, 1,210
same-sex marriages were celebrated, followed by 1,166
in 2005. This year statisticians expect about 1,200
In 2001 the
Netherlands became the first country to allow same-sex
marriages , giving gays and lesbians the same rights as
heterosexuals. The CBS Statistics Institute gave the
exact number of same-sex marriages since April 1,
2001, when those unions became legal, as 8,127.