In May 2002, the government bill was then withdrawn from the Chamber and instead introduced as a private member's bill (which does not require opinions by the Council of State) in the Senate by the group leaders of the majority parties, Jeannine Leduc (VLD), Philippe Mahoux (PS), Philippe Monfils (MR), Myriam Vanlerberghe (SP.A-Spirit), Marie Nagy (Ecolo) and Frans Lozie (Agalev).King Albert II signed and promulgated the bill on 13 February 2003 and on 28 February it was published in the Belgian Official Journal and came into force on 1 June.
A circulaire by Minister of Justice Laurette Onkelinx (PS) of 23 January 2004 however, permits any couple to marry in Belgium if at least one of the spouses has lived in the country for a minimum of three months.
This was codified into the Code on International Private Law, which took effect on 1 October 2004.
It was mostly intended as a response to the lowering marriage rates, rather than giving rights to same-sex couples.
In 1998, the bill was changed to "statutory cohabitation" (Dutch: ) and finally voted on.
Nevertheless, new momentum was gained at the start of the new parliamentary year in October 2002.
The Senate Justice Committee held hearings and voted 11–4 to approve the bill.
The election programmes of the SP (Flemish social democrats), Agalev (Flemish Greens) and VLD (Flemish liberals) for the 13 June 1999 elections included the aim to legalise same-sex marriage.
The new Verhofstadt I Government was formed, which was notably made up of a coalition of liberal, socialist and green parties and excluded the long-dominant Christian democrats, who lost the elections due to the Dioxin Affair.
, · QR, CDMX Netherlands: · Netherlands proper New Zealand: · New Zealand proper Norway Portugal South Africa Spain Sweden United Kingdom: · England and Wales · Scotland · AX and DX, AC, AQ · GI, GG*, IM, PN United States: · United States proper · GU, MP, PR, VI · some tribal jurisdictions Uruguay Japan: · Iga, Naha, Setagaya · Shibuya, Takarazuka Liechtenstein Malta Netherlands: · Aruba* Slovenia Switzerland Taiwan: · CG, CH, CS, HH, · KH, NT, TG, TN, · TP, TY, IL United Kingdom: · Northern Ireland · Jersey On 1 June 2003, Belgium became the second country in the world to legalise same-sex marriage, after the Netherlands.