A gay couple has reportedly become the first to have a same-sex marriage in the Dutch Caribbean this week.
Cedeno Xiomar Gonzalez, 26, and Israel Ernesto Ruiz Pinto, 27, tied the knot on the tiny volcanic island of Saba – an overseas nation of the Netherlands.
Officiator Julietta Woods presided over the wedding, and noted there will need to be some protocol adjustments in the script, the Daily Herald reports.
She had to read from the official ‘husband and wife’ text, leading to some confusion with the large crowd who had gathered for the landmark event.
Gonzales, who comes from a neighboring island of Aruba, told COC Netherlands the reason they chose Saba is because it is the first Dutch Caribbean territory to adopt the legislation allowing same-sex weddings.
He said the ceremony as ‘personal and highly emotional’, and said he never felt he would be able to describe the love of his life as his husband.
As Gonzales is a gay rights advocate and youth worker in Aruba, he happened to meet the openly gay island councilor Carl Buncamper, and it was him who urged Gonzales to work with officials to have his wedding in Saba.
Tourism Director Glenn Holm was ‘excited’ about the first same-sex civil union, saying he hoped it would boost holiday interest in the small island – most famous for its greenery and diving. He added pictures from the wedding would be included in tourism materials.
‘We are seeing interest in same-sex marriages in Saba. The next one is scheduled for 17 December,’ he said.
Same-sex unions officially became legal in Saba in October 2012 after it was passed by the Dutch House of Representatives.
Passing same-sex marriage was controversial in the typically conservative island nation, with some opposing the perceived ‘neo-colonialism’ of the liberal Netherlands imposing the law.