IN many European countries, not everyone is able to celebrate love and confirm their partnership through marriage. Despite 26 nations making same sex marriage and civil partnerships legal, many European countries have not yet followed suit, with some countries even still considering it a crime.
To celebrate its local PRIDE week, Dutch retail chain HEMA invited three European couples to come to Amsterdam and celebrate their love and show that marriage should be possible for all, as love is for everyone. The store took care of every detail; from the wedding bouquet and the wedding cake, to the rings and the wedding outfits. The ceremony was completed by marriage officiant Ina Poppen who has been closely involved with same sex marriages in The Netherlands since the beginning in 2000.
Poppen said: “I fully support HEMA’s message that love is for everyone and that everybody – regardless of gender, sexual orientation or origin – should be able to celebrate and confirm their love for each other. I am very happy and honoured that the store asked me to lead such a special ceremony.”
“We had no hope that this would ever be possible, even as a symbolic act. Getting married today is a fulfilment of our commitment to each other’’ said George, 44, who married his partner at the store – also called George, 34 The couple first met in 2004 when one of the George’s visited a friend in the town where the other George lived. It was “love at first sight” according to the couple, and they have been together ever since.
Also married at the ceremony was couple Dimitar, 40, and Simeon, 34 who met 12 years ago at the gym, and Andrea, 40, and Maria, 34, who met 18 years ago when Maria was playing pool. Andrea tried her best all night to get Maria’s number, who was playing hard to get at first, but by the end of the end she gave in.