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A Decade of Dutch Marriage Equality

A Decade of Dutch Marriage Equality


April 1, 2011 marks a decade of marriage equality in The Netherlands, the first country in the world to legalize same-sex marriage.

Ten years later, 20% of gay and lesbian Dutch couples are married, after 15,000 weddings.

"The fact that same-sex marriage has been legalized on three continents demonstrates progress in equality," said Boris O. Dittrich, acting director of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (LGBT) Rights Program at Human Rights Watch. "However, while the right to same-sex marriage may be viewed as the last step in ending discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation, legalization does not end discrimination, either by officials or other people."

Demographer Jan Latten of Statistics Netherlands told Radio Netherlands that the figures reflect the same behavior as heterosexual couples.

"Many of them marry out of love, of course," he said. "But, just as with straight couples, the desire to have children and the resulting legal responsibilities often weigh even more for gay and lesbian couples to marry. This could explain why gay couples marry less often than straight ones. Gay couples, especially gay men, are still facing considerable difficulties when they want to adopt children."

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