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AP package marks 20th anniversary of legal same-sex marriage

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Gert Kasteel, left, and Dolf Pasker kiss after exchanging vows at Amsterdam’s City Hall after midnight, April 1, 2001. – AP Photo / Peter Dejong

An all-formats team showcased AP’s global reach with a package marking the 20th anniversary of the Netherlands becoming the first country with legal same-sex marriages. Far more sweeping than a routine anniversary story, the coverage coordinated by New York-based national writer David Crary and Netherlands chief correspondent Mike Corder included an interview with one of the first couples married 20 years ago in the Netherlands. And with the help of multiple AP bureaus, it also detailed the uneven progress of same-sex marriage worldwide — now legal in 28 countries, but only Taiwan in all of Asia and only South Africa in Africa.

In Amsterdam, the package was 20 years in the making — dating back to midnight on April 1, 2001, when photographer Peter Dejong documented the historic weddings. He re-edited those photos, then tracked down one of the couples he photographed in 2001; he and freelance video journalist Aleks Furtula persuaded the couple to grant an on-camera interview at their home. Corder interviewed Amsterdam’s mayor for the piece, while Furtula organized video coverage of a same-sex wedding in the city of Utrecht and Dejong contributed spot video of events in Amsterdam.

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A huge inflatable pink cake with rainbow candles glides through the Amsterdam canals, April 1, 2021, as the Dutch capital celebrated the 20th anniversary of the world’s first legal same-sex marriages. – AP Photo / Peter Dejong

Back in the U.S., Alyssa Goodman, photo editor for the Top Stories Hub, spent hours searching AP photo archives for the strongest images of milestone same-sex marriages around the world. The resulting 24-photo package — including Dejong’s then-and-now photos — was striking in its breadth and emotion. And Francois Duckett, a top stories artist, created an interactive map showing the countries that have legalized same-sex marriage. AP’s impressive body of work won plaudits on social media and extensive play.

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