It is three years ago to the day that our dear friendsand neighbours, Henk and Piet were married here in Amsterdam Oost. It was Piet's 70th birthday and, tragically, this would be his last ever birthday, may he now be resting in peace.
Marriage had been made available to same-sex couples three years earlier (almost to the day) and the first ceremonies took place in the Stopera in Amsterdam, officialted by Job Cohen, the mayor of Amsterdam. Henk and Piet's marriage was officiated by a local civil servant, an acquaintance of the two.
It was a lovely day, where we first met up at Henk and Piet's and walked up over the bridge to Oost for the ceremony at the council offices, whereafter we took a tram into town and spent the afternoon on a small boat, motoring down some of the smallest and oldest canals in Amsterdam, before being transported down south to the Okura hotel, where we had dinner on the top floor with a view across Amsterdam by night. A memorable day.
There has been a lot of discussion in the Netherlands about the plans by the new coalition to allow civil servants to discriminate against gay people and to allow them to refuse to officiate a same sex weddings. Well, most of the mayors of the large cities have said that they will not allow their civil servants to refuse and indeed, the conditions of employment would preclude any civil servant to refuse. Further, today there is a meeting of the PvdA (social democrat party), to approve or dis-approve of the coalition agreement and it is expected that the party members will voice, very loudly their disapproval of this proposal. We will see how far the protest goes.
In the meantime, it is good tpo have the opportunity to reflect on the day three years ago when Henk and Piet were married and teh joy th shared together.