There’s an interesting article over at Washington Post.com on gay marriages and how they’ve become nothing out of the ordinary two years after being legalized in the Netherlands. Despite the claims of opponents here in the States that legalized gay marriages would be the downfall of civilization as we know it, the Dutch appear to be surviving the transition intact and without any major issues.
While the United States fiercely debates the issue of allowing same-sex marriage, marriage for gay men and lesbians in the Netherlands has become so commonplace that today, two years after being legalized, it is hardly recognized as different.
As many as 8 percent of all marriages here are now between people of the same sex, according to gay activists. Gay men and lesbians advertise their marriages and host lavish parties for friends. And some of those who got married are getting divorced and paying court-ordered alimony.
So routine have same-sex weddings become here, said Krol and others, that gay men and lesbians are now facing some of the same social problems that have plagued heterosexuals for years when marriage goes sour.
The Netherlands now has the distinction of having the world’s first gay divorces, which must be obtained in court like any other divorce. Marital property must be split, and if one partner makes more money than the other, a court can require alimony payments.
Some gay couples, like their heterosexual counterparts, are opting for prenuptial agreements. “We’ve got a pre-nup,” said Robert van der Sanden, 30, editor of a teenage magazine called “Girlz!” who is busy planning an October wedding to his partner of four years, Gerard van Eldik, 39. “It’s for if we split up—so we know ‘what’s yours.’ ”
Yet more evidence that the only real difference between gay and hetero unions is the gender ratio.