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4/1/06 Same-sex marriage 5-year anniversary

Hi All,

It is hard to believe but it has been 5 years since the Netherlands authorized couples of the same sex to marry each other.

I am on the Board of Directors of Love Exiles Foundation (see description below).  Love Exiles is are asking that people send letters of appreciation to the Netherlands government for this significant step.  After the Netherlands adopted same-sex
marriage, it was adopted in Spain, Canada, Belgium and Massachusetts. (and more recently, South Africa)

I appreciate the Netherlands for this historic step as it allowed me to marry Jacqueline. I am amazed at the power and significance of taking those vows in front of family and friends with the knowledge that it is a binding contract enforced by the government.

I hope that you will take time to write a short letter of appreciation.  Please see the instructions in the email below from Love Exiles.

Thanks,

Kirsten

Dear all,

I have an urgent request to all who care passionately about the rights of binational same-sex couples and who believe that equal rights are possible NOW.

April 1, 2006 marks the FIVE YEAR anniversary of legal civil marriage for same sex couples. Can you believe that it has already been five years?

I remember that historic day well. At the first opportunity I ran to city hall in Amsterdam and filled in the paperwork to marry my partner. I was thrilled to know that I would soon say ?I do? in front of friends and family and share in a social
institution that is important in structuring our lives.

Same-sex marriage since been embraced in places as far away as Spain, South Africa, Massachusetts, Canada (and across the border in Belgium).

We want to keep the same-sex marriage revolution alive and inspire other countries to show the courage the Netherlands showed. So we are asking you to join us in acknowledging the brave country of the Netherlands for having the courage to be the first.

Your letters will be personally handed to Amsterdam Mayor Cohen, who officiated at the first same-sex weddings, and to Prime Minister Balkenende and Henk Krol of the Gay Krant at a celebration opened by Mayor Cohen on the afternoon of April 1.

Please take five minutes to write us a letter, and share with us your experience: how has the world changed since same-sex marriage became a reality in the world?

Send your letters to loveexiles@… by March 22, 2006, and ask your friends and family to do the same.
Address your email to:

Henk Krol, editor of The Gay Krant and initiator of legalization recognizing same sex marriages.

Job Cohen, the government minister responsible for getting the bill through parliament. Cohen is now the mayor of Amsterdam and officiated at the first
same-sex marriages on that historic day in April 2001.

Jan-Peter Balkenende, Prime Minister of the
Netherlands.

For more information:
http://www.loveexiles.org/1_april_2006.htm

With love,
Martha McDevitt-Pugh
www.loveexiles.org

About Love Exiles
The Love Exiles Foundation is dedicated to the rights of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered people, and fights against discrimination, especially in the
area of immigration. Thousands of GLBT people live in the Netherlands because they can?t return to their own countries with their partners. They are exiles because the immigration laws in their own countries exclude their partners, even if they are married.

In the Netherlands, it has been possible for 25 years to sponsor a foreign same-sex partner for residency on the basis of a committed relationship. In 2001, the Netherlands became the first country in the world to open up marriage to same-sex couples.

At the moment, only 17 countries allow a citizen or resident to sponsor a same-sex partner for immigration:  Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Israel,
the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom.

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