Gay marriage is legal in 28 countries. In honor of Valentines Day, we at Gaye are recognizing some of the first legal same-sex marriages from around the world.
Leave it to the Nordic countries to beat us at - everything. The Netherlands were the first country in the world to legalize same-sex marriage. It came into law April 1, 2001 where four couples were married at the same time by the Mayor of Amsterdam, Job Cohen.
At the stroke of midnight, four couples - Anne-Marie Thus and Helene Faasen, Dolf Pasker and Gert Kasteel, and two other couples - one of whom had been together for 65 years - were married by the mayor of Amsterdam, Job Cohen, in the first legal gay marriage ceremony in the world. The ceremony was attended by 150 individuals including members of parliament and pink champagne and cake were served at the ceremony.
Yevgeny Voitsekhovsky and Pavel Stotsko are the first and only gay couple in Russia after marrying in 2018. They found a loophole in the law when realizing that it did not list same-sex marriages as a reason not to recognize marriage. The couple married in Copenhagen and brought their license back to Russia to the register's office, who gave it a stamp of approval and labeled them married on their passports.
After going viral in Russia, the government denied that they had approved the marriage and the husbands were harassed and threatened. They have fled and become legal citizens of the Netherlands where they held hands in public for the first time.
Though South Africa legalized same-sex marriages in 2006, Tshepo Cameron Modisane and Thoba Calvin Sithole are credited with having the first traditional gay marriage in South Africa in 2013. The two had originally met each other as students before falling out of touch and then meeting again at the gym months later.
Modisane, who is Twansa, and Sithole, who is Zula, dressed in their traditional attire and practiced cultural customs including family gift giving, cow sacrifices to honor ancestors and traditional dancing. The second part of the ceremony was a traditional western wedding.
“We see no reason to hide in darkness as if there is something to be ashamed about. Our marriage is largely symbolic and a sign that black gay men can commit and build family through a happy and loving marriage,” Modisane says. Technically speaking, park rangers Tony Halls and Vernon Halls-Gibb were the first couple to be married in South Africa on December 1st at 11 a.m., World Aids Day.
After 20 years together Marcia Kadish and Tanya McCloskey were married at the Cambridge City Hall in Boston May 17, 2004. The two women said that after so long they had already felt married and that this was just a legal thing, however they wanted to lead by example. McCloseky died Jan. 6, 2016 after a return of endometrial cancer, but the medical rights granted to married couples allowed Marcia Kadish to stay by her wifes side until the
Argentina became the first country in Latin America to legalize same-sex marriage in 2010. Di Bello, 41, an executive at the Argentinian Red Cross, and Freyre, 39, executive director of the Buenos Aires AIDS Foundation, were the first married couple to be married in Latin America on December 28, 2009.
The two met at an HIV conference and are both HIV positive. At their ceremony the two wore red ribbon scars to represent the HIV cause. The marriage of the two LGBT activists was extremely important at the time due to the countries Roman-Catholic roots. The two men have since divorced.
The newest in he old of first same-sex marriages is Robyn Peoples and Sharni Edwards who were married Feb. 12, 2020 in Carrickfergus, County Antrim. The two women had met in a gay bar in Belfast and has since been together for five years before legally wedding.
"Our love is personal but the law which said we couldn't marry was political," Peoples said, "We are delighted that with our wedding, we can now say that those days are over. While this campaign ends with Sharni and I saying 'I do', it started with people saying 'No' to inequality. By standing together, we've made history."
There are so many stories of love, all of them precious and most importantly equal. We Gaye wish you all a very happy Valentines Day!