As early as the mid-1980s, a group of gay rights activists, headed by Henk Krol – then editor-in-chief of the Gay Krant – asked the Dutch government to allow same-sex couples to marry. Parliament decided in 1995 to create a special commission, which was assigned to investigate the possibility of same-sex marriage. At that moment, Christian democrats were not part of the ruling coalition for the first time since the introduction of full democracy. The special commission finished its work in 1997 and concluded that civil marriage should be extended to include same-sex couples. After the election of 1998, the government promised to tackle the issue. In September 2000, the final legislation draft was debated in the Dutch Parliament.
The marriage bill passed the House of Representatives by 109 votes to 33 on 12 September 2000. Same-sex marriage in the Netherlands has been legal since 1 April 2001. The Netherlands was the first country in the world to legalise same-sex marriage.