Wedded bliss

So 100 civil servants in the Netherlands are refusing to conduct same-sex marriages. They clearly don’t know what they’re missing.

In an age when the average hetero wedding is likely to feature a bride in an unsuitable off-the-shoulder white gown and a reception consisting of a finger buffet with pink champagne, the same-sex equivalent offers something radically different.
You get the feeling that most young men and women organise their wedding to show off their bank balance and their taste, or lack of it. But gays and lesbians marry because, finally, they can.
The result is often very moving. Elderly men or women, together in stable relationships for years, plight their troth like 18-year-olds. Younger couples celebrate being able to begin a recognised relationship, with all the rights and responsibilities that brings.
There’s no hypocrisy of a white dress, but there are brightly coloured outfits – usually for the men. And when the emotion of the ceremony is over, there’s always a great party.
Of course, some same-sex weddings are boring, too, but towns like Bunschoten and Staphorst, which have the most refuseniks, will be the poorer for not allowing them. Still, it’s a fair bet that any gay or lesbian born in the area has long moved to a more welcoming environment.

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