The Netherlands was the first country in the world to extend civil marriage laws to same-sex couples in 2001. Over 15.000 couples have since taken advantage of this.
As such any couples of the same sex or gender identity can cement their union by one of the options available to heterosexual couples in the Netherlands:
Same-sex couples and children
There is, however, an important difference for same-sex couples wishing to formalise their union in the Netherlands when it comes to children:
Marriage between two women
If a child is born during the marriage between two women, the partner who gives birth to the child is automatically considered to be the child's legal and lawful mother.
Marriage between two men
Similarly, if two men in a relationship are caring for a child and one of them is the child's father, he alone is recognised as the lawful father.
In both cases, the other partner must adopt the child in order to become its other lawful parent.
Recognition by other countries
Couples of the same-sex and / or gender identity who marry in the Netherlands must also be aware that their union may not be recognised by other foreign countries.