November 29, 2002 – Agence France-Presse,
Belgian senate approves gay marriages
The Belgian senate on Thursday approved a bill allowing gay and lesbian marriages, paving the way for the country to be only the second in Europe to do so.
The bill, which still has to be voted by the lower house, gives homosexual couples the same right as heterosexual ones, notably inheritance rights. The new law, proposed by Belgium’s rainbow coalition, will not however allow gay couples to adopt children, and will consider the mother in a lesbian couple to be a single parent. The bill was approved by 46 votes in favor and 15 against. Four senators abstained. "
Mentalities have changed.
There is no longer any reason not to open marriage to people of the same sex," Belgian Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt said last year, when he first launched the proposal. "This law will end what some of the homosexual community consider a serious discrimination and should help fight homophobia", ecologist lawmaker Josy Dubie told AFP.
Verhofstadt originally proposed limiting the law’s application to Belgians and nationals of other countries with similar laws. But its final version is open to everyone. The Dutch parliament voted through a law allowing gay and lesbian marriages in 2000, although it only applies to Dutch nationals or people who have a residence permit in the Netherlands.
January 31, 2003 – United Press International
Belgium legalizes gay marriage
by Gareth Harding
Brussels – Belgium became only the second country in the world to legalize same-sex marriages late Thursday after the parliament overwhelmingly adopted a law giving gay couples almost the same nuptial rights as heterosexuals. The legislation, which was already backed by the Senate in November, was approved by 91 of the 122 deputies in the lower house of the Belgian parliament following years of heated debate.
The coalition government of Liberals, Socialists and Greens welcomed the adoption of the controversial law. "Mentalities have changed. There is no longer any reason not to open marriage to people of the same sex," said Justice Minister Marc Verwilghen during a late-night debate before the law was voted through. Green member Kristien Grauwels said the law "makes it clear that any enduring and loving relationship is appreciated in the same way in our modern society." The legislation, which will come into effect in the summer, gives married gays and lesbians more rights than cohabiting homosexuals and almost identical rights to heterosexual couples.
Most notably, married homosexuals will automatically have inheritance rights to the goods and property of their deceased partner. In the past, these were conferred on the parents of gay couples. In addition, married homosexuals will receive the same fiscal breaks as heterosexual couples, will be allowed to file taxes jointly, will benefit from unemployment pay-outs should one of the partners be out of work and will have the same financial responsibilities in case of divorce. However, unlike the Netherlands – which became the first country to legalize same-sex weddings in 2001 – homosexual couples will not be allowed to adopt children, nor will the lesbian partner of a mother be considered the parent of the child.
The majority of parliamentarians argued that the new law granted legal, not biological rights. However, Green and Socialist members said they regretted the denial of adoption clause. "In spite of the very symbolic value of this law and the positive signal it sends to the gay community … it remains blatantly hypocritical in one respect: a single person can adopt a child, but not a homosexual couple," said Socialist deputy Karine Lalieux.
January 30, 2003 – Algemeen Dagblad, Rotterdam Netherlands
Belgian gays: children first, then marriage (English translation)
by our correspondent Joris van Poppel
The first I-do will take another four months, but Anke Hintjes of the Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexuals Federation will party tonight. After four years of struggle, Belgian Parliament will approve gay marriage this afternoon. Belgian "holebi’s" as homosexuals, lesbians and bisexuals call themselves, can hardly wait. Some even went to the Netherlands to get married.
Gay marriage, announced four years ago, has proven to be tough business for the Belgian government of green and left-wing parties. Especially people from the French speaking Walloon provinces were opposed. "They absolutely didn’t want to know about it," says parliament member for the green party Kristien Grauwels. "Only because it was put in the coalition agreement in 1999, they had to approve. Reluctantly."
The Flemish (Dutch-speaking) parties, except for the ultra-conservative Flemish Block, on the other hand, applaud the opening of marriage with great enthusiasm. A difference in tradition is what Anke Hintjes of the Holebi-Federation calls it. Whereas in Dutch-speaking provinces you see posters in schools to make homosexuality debatable, in the French-speaking provinces there is still a big taboo on this subject. Even Elio DiRupo, the flamboyant gay front man of the Walloon socialists, has hardly spoken in the discussions of equal rights for gays.
"In Flanders people are troubled by foreigners," says Grauwels, "in the Walloon provinces by homosexuals." To get the French-speaking parties this far, the Flemish, Dutch-speaking parties had to make important concessions. The adoption of children is a definite no-no for married same-sex couples. Unlike in the Netherlands, adoption is strictly forbidden. "For the French-speaking parties marriage was already actually a bridge too far, not to mention adoption" says Grauwels. "They threatened to be in the way for the opening of marriage altogether if adoption would be made possible." The Holebi-Federation is still pleased about the new law.
"The symbolic value is huge," according to Hintjes. "And marriage and parenthood are two different things. If we got one, the other may still be possible." Moreover, the Flemish gay movement has found a creative solution. "We advise our people to adopt children first, and to get married afterwards," says Hintjes. "Because that is allowed." The Law has another oddity: gays may not marry foreigners, except citizens from the Netherlands. Belgian Law dictates that foreigners stick to the rules of their native country. And even though Scandinavian countries and Germany have registered partnerships, only Belgian and Netherlands "holebi’s" may lawfully give their promises.
June 6, 2003 – 365Gay
Belgium’s First Gay Wedding Held Today
by 365Gay.com Newscenter Staff Brussels –
Belgium held its first official gay wedding this afternoon, six days after a new marriage law took effect. Belgium’s parliament voted in January to allow gays and lesbians to marry, with the law taking effect June 1.
Marion Huibrechts, 43, married her partner of 14 years Christel Verswyvelen, 37, at a ceremony in the town hall of Kapellen, near Antwerp. The couple did not want to turn the wedding into a major media event said a spokesperson for the pair, explaining why they opted to wait six days. "They waited 14 years, what difference would a couple more days make," the spokesperson said, "if it prevented the occasion from turning into a media circus. Belgium is the second country in the world to authorize gay marriages, after the Netherlands.
Gay couples will have mostly the same rights as heterosexual couples, apart from matters related to parentage and adoption: in a lesbian couple the biological mother is considered the child’s lone parent, while gay couples cannot adopt a child.
7 November 2003 – Gay.com
Belgium sees 139 same sex weddings over 6 months
Gay and lesbian couples are happy to head towards the alter inBelgium, with 139 weddings conducted since same sex marriage was legalisedthis year. It has now been six months since the Belgian government announced itwas to become the second country in the world to allow same sex marriagesand the institution has been embraced by couples in six of the country’smajor cities.
In fact same sex marriages now account for 4.7% of all weddings inthe cities of Antwerp, Ghent, Bruges, liege, Brussels and Charleroi. According to the advocacy group Holebi, Antwerp is the most popularcity for gay weddings, with 64 couples tying the note since June. The group hopes that by releasing the figures, countries that arecurrently debating whether to legalise gay marriage will push forward withproposals.
At present, Canada seems the most likely country to move forwardover same sex marriage. PM Jean Chretien has already said he is keen to ensure full equalityfor homosexual couples before he stands down early next year, and had sentproposals to the country’s Supreme Court in a bid to ensure any bill wouldhave full legal backing before it is debated in parliament.
It is thought Canada will be ready to roll out national legislationat some point next year, although conservative and religious bodies arepreparing to block the bill. In the UK, it is unlikely same sex marriage will be allowed any timesoon, although the government is currently in the middle of drafting civilpartnership legislation, which could give couples similar rights as their heterosexual peers.
January 26, 2004 – Expatica (The Netherlands),
Rights group sues cardinal over gay ‘pervert’ comments
Brussels – One of Belgium’s leading civil rights groups has announced it intends to sue Belgian cardinal Gustaaf Joos for violating the country’s anti-discrimination laws. Joos said in a recent magazine interview that he believed that 90-95 percent of gay people were "sexual perverts" and that the remainder needed help.
The Centre for Equal Opportunities and the Fight Against Racism (CEOFAR), which receives government funding, said that it had decided to sue the cardinal because it found his views "unacceptable". The organisation argued that in its opinion, such statements were illegal in Belgium, which has tough anti-discrimination laws. CEOFAR added that it was suing Joos alone, not the Roman Catholic church.
April 26, 2004 – Expatica (The Netherlands)
Socialists reopen gay adoption debate
Brussels – Belgium’s French speaking socialist party has added its voice to a growing clamour for gay couples to be allowed to adopt, La Libre Belgique reported on Monday. The Socialists (PS) have just published a proposal for a new law that would give gay couples the right to adopt children in Belgium and also, in certain circumstances, to travel abroad and adopt from other countries. The PS proposal follows similar suggestions put forward by the Flemish Liberal Democrat Party (VLD) and the Flemish socialists (SP.A). The call for international adoption rights is the big difference between the new socialist plan and the two earlier proposals.
The majority of adoptions these days happen across borders. The PS would like to encourage in international law the principle of allowing gay couples to adopt if the law in either their home country or the country they want to adopt from allows it. "We are trying to align the law with social realities today," PS parliamentarian Valerie Deom told La Libre Belgique. "We need to end the general climate of hypocrisy and stop an unjustified discrimination. Children are already raised by homosexual couples today. If we continue to insist that only heterosexuals can adopt we are not taking account of reality," she added. Belgium already recognises gay marriages.
28 May 2004 – Expatica (The Netherlands),
300 gay marriages in Belgium
Brussels– An impressive 300 gay weddings have taken place in Belgium since the country passed a law legalising same sex unions a year ago, it has been announced.
According to official figures released on Friday, gay weddings represented 1.2 percent of all marriages registered in Belgium over the past 12 months.
Interestingly, gay couples in Flanders seem far keener on the sound of wedding bells tan their counterparts in Wallonia or the Brussels region.
Of the 300 gay unions celebrated last year, 240 took place in Flanders, 38 in Wallonia and just 22 in the capital and its suburbs.
According to gay rights groups, the relatively high number of same-sex weddings is due to the fact that many couples had been waiting for years for the right to get married.
October 2004 – 365gay
Gay Americans marry in Belgium
by Rex Wockner
Two American men who work in Belgium became the first U.S. same-sex couple to be married there Oct. 9, in the city of Enghien.
Phillip Sorensen, 46, and Christopher Staker, 49, both of whom work for NATO in Brussels, tied the knot in the City Hall civil-weddings room before local friends and 37 other friends and family members from around the world, including 25 who came from the U.S. for the event.
An Oct. 1 law change made it possible for any foreign same-sex couple to marry in Belgium if at least one of the spouses has lived there for at least three months.
Previously, foreign same-sex couples could marry in Belgium only if their home country or countries also allowed same-sex marriage. Sorensen and Staker are from New Hampshire. The only U.S. state that allows same-sex couples to marry is Massachusetts.
Staker is NATO’s director of health promotion and preventive medicine. Sorensen is NATO’s director of occupational health and epidemiology.
Belgium granted same-sex couples access to marriage in 2002, following in the footsteps of the Netherlands. Since then, same-sex couples also have won access to marriage, via court rulings, in Massachusetts; in the Canadian provinces of British Columbia, Manitoba, Nova Scotia, Ontario and Quebec; and in Canada’s Yukon Territory. There are no residency requirements for marriage in Canada.
Belgian-Flemish sex ad for young gay males
A beautiful photograph in a new Belgian/Flemish campaign on sex for young adults.
This is the gay male version, but there’s also a ‘lesbian’ and several heterosexual versions. All emphasize the importance of clear communication and sound agreements.
The translation of the caption is:
A-a-a-a- (you have figured that yourself)
What about the rest of the alphabet?
Make clear what you want and how far you want to go before you start. And ask the same of your partner.
Good agreements make good sex.
Sensoa. Talk about sex
July 25, 2005 – United Press International
Same-sex marriage on rise in Belgium
Brussels – Same-sex marriage has boomed since the concept was legalized in Belgium and 3 percent of all marriages are between homosexuals.
Some 2,500 same-sex couples have tied the knot since September 2003, the Ministry of Interior Affairs announced. It is not certain that marrying will remain this popular among Belgian gays in the future since registered homosexuals are barred from adopting children under national legislation.
The Belgian parliament has been discussing adoption rights for same-sex couples in recent months and a vote is expected after the summer recess.
Belgium was the second country, after the Netherlands, to legalize gay marriage. Same-sex marriages are now allowed in a number of countries, including Spain and Canada, whereas gay adoption remains fairly restricted.
September 06, 2005 – PBS
Belgium: No waffling on gay marriage
Stepping from the town hall into bright sunlight, Olivier Pierret raised his hand in triumph. It was his wedding day, and celebrations lay ahead. First was a vin d’honneur drinks reception among the airy rooms of an art gallery, then an elaborate dinner and finally, a surprise speech from his father, a taciturn 74-year-old who seldom displays emotion.
"You’ve envisaged and built your life along a different emotional track from that of your parents,"Pierret’s father told his son and 73 wedding guests. "That’s your right and above all your choice, and I respect and accept it with sincerity and joy."
"He’d never said those things before. Around me, everyone went quiet and started to cry," Pierret, a 42-year-old Belgian househusband tells me over Lucky Strikes and wine in his matrimonial Brussels loft.
Even two years later, the wedding photos have an effect on someone like me, who just met the couple. That’s because this wasn’t a regular wedding. More than 16 years after they met at a Christmas dance, Pierret and Alain De Jonge, a 39-year-old lawyer, became one of the first gay couples to marry in Belgium. When they strode into the street on August 30, 2003, to the sound of Barry White’s "You’re the First, the Last, My Everything," it had been just weeks since this small country in the center of Europe legalized same-sex marriage — the second country in the world to do so after the Netherlands, and ahead of Canada and Spain, which followed suit this year.
It’s easy to see the Dutch legalizing gay marriage — they legalize almost everything. Catholic Spain, ever since it emerged from the repression of the old Franco regime, has indulged its new freedoms. And Canada is known for tolerance. But why Belgium? When I stroll around Brussels, it’s hard to imagine homosexuality was ever taboo. Gay bars spill onto pavements. Cinemas host bisexual, lesbian and gay evenings. In the local transvestite cabaret bar — a testosterone-laden cavern named Chez Maman — men will buy even a straight woman like me a drink. Dozens of politicians joined the 20,000-strong throng that wound through town during this year’s Gay Pride parade. But it wasn’t always like this. As recently as the mid-1990s, gay bars in Brussels shut out suspicious eyes with bouncers and dark curtains. Belgium’s Christian Democrats ruled over the country’s politics and had secured a code of religious ethics for decades. It was a country that concealed homosexuals such as Chille Deman, the 57-year-old former president of Gay Pride Belgium who sat with me in a window seat in the Rainbow House, a gay center on a cobblestone street. When Deman was 10 years old, his father took him aside and warned him he would one day fall in love with men.
"’But you must struggle,’ my father told me, ‘and you’ll get over it and be married and happy, like I am,’" Deman says. So he struggled — for 22 years and through two marriages. During those years, he welcomed the thick curtains. Yet when Belgium signed off on same-sex marriage, there was no public outcry, there were no mass street protests and no politicians courting anti-gay votes. So what happened in this country whose state religion is Catholicism, a country that shutters its shops and banks on Catholic holidays, and where the bad word for gay translates as the shortened version of pedophile? "We are not a progressive country. We just had a political opportunity," says Deman. That opportunity materialized in 1999 through a completely unrelated event. Reject motor oil had been routinely added to Belgian animal feed. When the public learned about it, a massive food scare ripped across Belgium. People feared that everything from chicken to chocolate was contaminated by toxic dioxins. National elections were a few weeks away. As countries around the world slammed their doors against Belgian imports, furious Belgian voters ousted the Christian Democrats from all major political posts. An incoming coalition of liberals and left-leaning parties promised far-reaching reforms — much like the Socialist government that came to power in Spain on a wave of public support after the Madrid terrorist bombings in 2004.
The new Belgian government legalized euthanasia and marijuana and outlawed discrimination. The anti-discrimination law restricted the power of those who opposed gay rights, and gay marriage became legal. On January 31, 2003, the parliament voted by a 91-22 majority to give full civil marriage rights to gay couples. Allowing gays to adopt is up for debate this fall. "It all happened so quickly," Alain De Jonge tells me as I sit in the couple’s garden, among scented roses. "We watched the debates on the television, and we started to think, ‘Should we get married?’ It was a way to make a statement." Other factors had helped prepare the ground. As in churches across the rest of Europe, church pews in Belgium are often empty. Belgium’s Catholic King Badouin abdicated temporarily rather than face public opposition as lawmakers legalized abortion in 1990. Conservative politicians, seeing their power slip, remade themselves to fit into a more liberal mold and, in the late 1990s, passed limited co-habitation rights for gay couples. And some say Belgium’s internal divisions between French speakers in the south and Dutch speakers in the northern Flanders region contributed as well. There are simply too many other things to fight over.
"Besides, when you live in a country where everyone speaks several languages, you understand there are things you can’t translate. You understand there are different points of view that are valid," says Peter Young, an Australian antiques dealer and chef who spoke to me from Canberra. Young and Frenchman Olivier Bruge were married in Brussels before the two moved to Australia. Even Belgium’s swelling far-right movement has dropped its anti-gay agenda of the 1980s, focusing instead on immigrants — which may have something to do with the fact that it takes many of its cues from the neighboring Netherlands. There, Pim Fortuyn, the leader of the Dutch far right until his murder three years ago, was openly gay. Not that it has always been easy being homosexual in Belgium, even for Pierret and De Jonge. De Jonge kept his boyfriend quiet for years when he visited home, although by now he says his Catholic mother has metamorphosed into a pro-gay militant. And both have been targets of verbal abuse. But these days, when a postman at the door asks for De Jonge’s signature while he’s out or when Pierret deals with officials on behalf of himself and his husband, there is a fresh sense of acceptance.
"Once people understand you are legally married, they see you differently. They realize there’s nothing outlandish about us. We’re just a couple of people who love each other, that’s all," says Pierret. It’s a message he wants to spread. When the couple attended the straight wedding of a Hawaiian friend in a castle outside Brussels this summer, they earned gasps of admiration from the American wedding guests. "They seemed to think it was great that we’re married. My friend’s father even sent us these from Hawaii," Pierret laughs, holding up two necklaces strung with pale shells. "Not that we’ll ever wear them, but still," he winks and makes the shells clink, "I think we planted a seed."
Since 2003, more than 2,440 gay couples have married in Belgium. That’s not a very high number considering couples travel here from around the world to get hitched. Deman, for one, will not marry. After two marriages to women, he chooses not to. After all, he says, it’s having the choice that counts.
Juliane von Reppert-Bismarck is a European affairs reporter for Dow Jones Newswires in Brussels. She is a graduate of Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.
Belgian parliament approves adoption rights for gay couples
The Belgian Parliament on Friday approved legislation granting gay couples the right to adopt children.
The vote followed a tense debate in the Parliament. However, the final tally of 77 votes for and 62 opposed (with seven abstentions) was a bigger majority than expected.
The legislation has not been officially passed, but will now head to the Senate for further debate.
In the meantime, the gay and lesbian lobby group Holebifederatie was exceptionally pleased with the passing of the legislation."A lot of gay couples wanting children are now very pleased," the group’s spokeswoman Mieke Stessens said. Stessens also said his organization will continue lobbying to ensure the legislation is not delayed in the Senate.
April 21, 2006
Brussels – Gay couples in Belgium are to be allowed to adopt children under a new law passed by the country’s Senate, media reports said Friday. The Senate approved the bill by a narrow majority late Thursday. The legislation was already approved by the lower house of parliament last December.
The vote means that wording in Belgium’s adoption law, specifying that only heterosexual couples or single people may adopt children, will be removed. An amendment to the new legislation that would have restricted adoption within a homosexual relationship to either partner’s biological children, was not passed.
Belgium approves gay adoption
by Aussie Dasher
Belgium has voted into law a controversial bill allowing homosexual couples to adopt children, Belga news agency reported. The upper house of parliament, the Senate, today approved the bill by a razor-thin 34 votes to 33, with two abstentions. The vote in the lower house of parliament in December 2005 had also been narrow, at 77 votes to 62, with seven abstentions.
Homosexual couples in Belgium won the right to marry in June 2003 and more than 5000 people have taken advantage of that law since it came into force. Now that the new law has been definitively approved, they will share the same rights as heterosexual couples to adopt children, whether the child comes from Belgium or abroad.
Supporters of the adoption law stress that many homosexual couples are already raising children in Belgium but that those children are not protected by law, notably in cases of separation or if one of the parents dies. "This bill means children can enjoy a genuine statute, which is essential for their development. Their situation is not a shameful one," Justice Minister Laurette Onkelinx told the Senate.
Elsewhere in Europe, England, Wales, the Netherlands and Spain have also enacted laws granting homosexual couples the right to adopt children.
March 29, 2007 – PinkNews
Belgium at centre of "gay" Turkish hero row
by Staff Writer, PinkNews.co.uk
Turks are devoted to the memory of Ataturk, and slandering his name is punishable by imprisonment.
Read and comment on this article
The education minister of Belgium’s French-speaking community is trying to quell a row over a school textbook that identifies the founder of the modern Turkish state as gay. Marie Arena is seeking a meeting with Turkey’s ambassador to Belgium, and her spokesman has said that Ataturk’s inclusion on a list of famous gay and bisexual people from history was a "mistake." The Walloon region of the country is autonomous in matters of education. Belgium has autonomous administrations for the German, French and Flemish-speaking communities.
"The source of that list was a California-based Internet site, and unfortunately those who prepared the book didn’t feel the need to check the information already provided publicly on an Internet site. It is a copy and paste accident," a source close to the education minister told Zaman newspaper.
The 144-page book, titled Fight Against Homophobia, had not yet been given out to pupils. Alexander the Great, artist Leonardo da Vinci, German poet and dramatist Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and Popes Benoit IX and Pope Jules III also made the list. "The issue is extremely sensitive, and Belgian officials have eventually noticed their mistake," Yusuf Seki, press officer of the Turkish Embassy in Brussels, said yesterday. Turks are devoted to the memory of Ataturk, and slandering his name is punishable by imprisonment. Earlier this month a court in Istanbul banned the YouTube website after a video posting alleging that all Turks are gay, including Ataturk, proved too much.
The febrile Turkish press pounced on the story of Greeks posting insulting YouTube videos as yet another example of their neighbour’s villany, and demanded that something be done. The ban has now been lifted. Ataturk, who transformed Turkey into a modern secular state, was President from 1923 until his death in 1938.
27 November 2007 – Expatica
HIV infection up among homosexual men
Brussels – The number of homosexual men in Belgium that are infected with the HIV virus, which causes AIDS, has risen sharply. The latest figures have been released by Public Health authorities and Sensoa, an organisation which educates the public on sexual behaviour. The latest figures are for 2006. Last year 1,014 new diagnoses of HIV were made in Belgium, which is a slight decline compared to the year before. The decline is attributed mainly to the drop in the number of infections in the group of non-Belgians. This group however is still responsible for 55% of the total number of infections in our country. The number of Belgians infected with the HIV virus increased by 20% last year. Most of the new diagnoses of HIV infection are among homosexual men. Over a five year period the number of diagnoses in this group doubled. Sensoa calls the increase worrying and dramatic. "There is more HIV infection among homosexual men, and at the same time the group is only a small percentage of the entire population."
"An estimated 1 in 33 Belgian homosexual men is HIV positive, but this is probably an underestimation. Monitoring in our neighbouring countries reveals that nearly 1 in 10 homosexual men carry the HIV virus." According to Marc Sergeant of Sensoa, the chance of contracting HIV is higher amongst homosexual men than amongst heterosexual men. With breakthroughs in medical research, HIV infected people stay healthy longer these days. This often means that they also stay sexually active. The number of Belgian HIV infections due to heterosexual contact has also increased slightly, but the rise is much less dramatic percentage-wise.
Sensoa is a member of the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF), the largest non-governmental organisation for sexual and reproductive health and rights, and of EuroNGOs. Sensoa is also a member of Aids Action Europe, contributing to the worldwide battle against HIV and AIDS and promoting the exchange of experience and expertise between Western, Central- and Eastern European countries.
May 17, 2008 – Inquirer.net
Lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and transsexuals
Brussels, Belgium – Lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and transsexuals in costumes, drags, and ordinary street clothes paraded on the main streets in Brussels declaring among others that homosexuals are gay. Video taken by Inquirer.net reporter Veronica Uy in Brussels on May 17, 2008.
2010 May 16 – Sify News
35,000 participate in Brussels gay pride parade
Brussels – More than 35,000 people took part in a gay and lesbian pride parade in the Belgian capital on Saturday. Organisers said around 10,000 more people than last year took part in the event, dubbed Belgian Pride Parade and aimed at highlighting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and calling for more tolerance. Numerous politicians, representing the Socialists, Greens and Liberals joined the colourful procession. Belgians are due to go to the polls June 13.
Also see: Games that can change the world
Belgium is considered one of the most liberal countries, with same-sex marriage being legal since 2003.
Belgian Pride Website