Dutch couple Helen Faasen and Anne-Marie Thus celebrate 10-years of marriage this week. They were the first lesbian couple to wed following the Netherlands legalizing same-sex marriage in 2001. They tied the not in Amsterdam alongside three male couples on April 1 of that year.
The couple take pride in their status as the first lesbian couple to lawfully wed, and have used that to promote equality for others.
“We married for love, not politics. But of course we were aware it was an historic moment,” 41-year-old Anne-Marie, a notary assistant and gay rights campaigner, said ahead of their 10th anniversary on Friday.
By tying the knot in front of the world’s press, “we wanted to make other people think about how horrible it is to be denied something that is a natural right for others,” added her wife, 44-year-old notary Helene Faasen.
“A heterosexual person never needs to think about whether he is allowed to marry or not, he simply needs to be lucky enough to find the love of his life.”
Anne-Marie and Helene live with their two children, 10-year-old Nathan, and Myrthle, 9, in Maastricht in south Netherlands, where Anne-Marie says she loves to spend her free time cooking and Helene relaxes by tending the garden.
Their children were born from Anne-Marie and anonymous sperm donors.
“Like many other people, we have a family, work, a house, a dog and two rabbits,” said Anne-Marie, who met “the love of my life” on a blind date in 1998.
“In the mornings, we also have to nag our children to get out of bed and eat breakfast … it is all very normal,” she added.
The children, said Helene, accept their family setup “as just one of the many options that exist”.
The couple, who say they are eager to show how “dull and normal” they are, hope their presence as a married lesbian couple will help give people in countries where gay marriage and especially gay rights as a whole are illegal the courage and conviction that things can change.
They will celebrate their anniversary on April 1 by attending a press opening of a city council-backed photo exhibition designed to commemorate the historic day.
Since Helen and Anne-Marie married around 15,000 gay and lesbian couples have wed in the Netherlands.