Marriage Equality Around the World
Sunday, January 29, 2023

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Article Index


Same-Sex Marriage in Argentina:

 On July 15,  2010, the Argentine Senate approved a bill extending marriage rights to same-sex couples. It was supported by the Government of President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner and opposed by the Catholic Church.[81] Polls showed that nearly 70% of Argentines supported giving gay people the same marital rights as heterosexuals. The law came into effect on 22 July 2010.


Same-sex marriage in Belgium:

Mayor of Liège, Willy Demeyer, officiating at the wedding of a gay couple. Belgium became the second country in the world to legally recognize same-sex marriages when a bill passed by the Belgian Federal Parliament took effect on 1 June 2003. Originally, Belgium allowed the marriages of foreign same-sex couples only if their country of origin also allowed these unions, however legislation enacted in October 2004 permits any couple to marry if at least one of the spouses has lived in the country for a minimum of three months. A 2006 statute legalized adoption by same-sex spouses.


Same-sex marriage in Brazil:

Brazil's Supreme Court ruled in May 2011 that same-sex couples are legally entitled to legal recognition of cohabitation (known as união estável, one of the two possible family entities in Brazilian legislation, it includes all family and married couple rights in Brazil – besides automatic opt-in for one of four systems of property share and automatic right to inheritance –, and was available for all same-sex couples since the same date), turning same-sex marriage legally possible as a consequence, and just stopping short of equalization of same-sex marriage (potentially confusing, a civil marriage or casamento civil is often rendered as união civil in legal Brazilian Portuguese; a same-sex marriage is a casamento civil homoafetivo or an união civil homoafetiva). 

Between mid-2011 and May 2013, same-sex couples had their cohabitation issues converted into marriage in several Brazil states with the approval of a state judge. All legal Brazilian marriages were always recognized all over Brazil. In November 2012, the Court of Bahia equalized marriage in the state of Bahia. In December 2012, the state of São Paulo likewise had same-sex marriage allowed in demand by Court order. Same-sex marriages also became equalized in relation to opposite-sex ones between January 2012 and April 2013 by Court order in Alagoas, Ceará, Espírito Santo, the Federal District, Mato Grosso do Sul, Paraíba, Paraná, Piauí, Rondônia, Santa Catarina and Sergipe, and in Santa Rita do Sapucaí, a municipality in Minas Gerais; in Rio de Janeiro, the State Court facilitated its realization by district judges in agreement with the equalization (instead of ordering notaries to accept same-sex marriages in demand as all others). On May 14, 2013, The Justice's National Council of Brazil issues a ruling requiring all civil registers of the country to perform same-sex marriages by a 14–1 vote, thus legalizing same-sex marriage in the entire country. The resolution came into effect on May 16, 2013. In March 2013, polls suggested that 47% of Brazilians supported marriage equalization and 57% supported adoption equalization for same-sex couples. Polls in June 2013 also supported the conclusion that the division of opinion between acceptance and rejection of same-sex marriage is in about equal halves. When the distinction between same-sex unions that are not termed marriages in relation to same-sex marriage is made, the difference in the numbers of approval and disapproval is still insignificant, below 1%; the most frequent reason for disapproval is a supposed 'unnaturalness' of same-sex relationships, followed by religious beliefs.


Same-Sex Marriage in Canada:

Legal recognition of same-sex marriage in Canada followed a series of constitutional challenges based on the equality provisions of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. In the first such case, Halpern v. Canada (Attorney General), same-sex marriage ceremonies performed in Ontario on January 14, 2001 were subsequently validated when the common law, mixed-sex definition of marriage was held to be unconstitutional. Similar rulings had legalized same-sex marriage in eight provinces and one territory when the 2005 Civil Marriage Act defined marriage throughout Canada as "the lawful union of two persons to the exclusion of all others."


Same-sex marriage in Denmark:

On June 7, 2012, the Folketing (Danish parliament) approved new laws regarding same-sex civil and religious marriage. These laws permit same-sex couples to get married in the Church of Denmark. The bills received Royal Assent on 12 June and took effect on June 15, 2012. Denmark was previously the first country in the world to legally recognize same-sex couples through registered partnerships in 1989. On May 26, 2015, Greenland, one of Denmark's two constituent countries in the Realm of Denmark, unanimously passed a law legalising same-sex marriage. The law goes into effect 1 October 2015.


Same-Sex Marriage in Finland:

Registered partnerships have been legal in Finland since in 2002. In 2010, Minister of Justice Tuija Brax said her Ministry was preparing to amend the Marriage Act to allow same-sex marriage by 2012. On February 27, 2013, the bill was rejected by the Legal Affairs Committee of the Finnish Parliament on a vote of 9–8. A citizens' initiative was launched to put the issue before Parliament of Finland. The initiative gathered the required 50,000 signatures of Finnish citizens in one day and exceeded 107,000 signatures by the time the media reported the figures.[104] The campaign collected 166,000 signatures and the initiative was presented to the Parliament in December 2013. The initiative went to introductory debate on 20 February 2014 and was sent again to the Legal Affairs Committee. On June, 25, the bill was rejected by the Legal Affairs Committee on a vote of 10–6 and the third time on November 20, 2014, by 9–8. It faced the first vote in full session on 28 November 2014, which passed the bill 105–92. The bill passed the second and final vote by 101–90 on 12 December 2014, and was signed by the President on 20 February 2015. The law will take effect on 1 March 2017. It was the first time a citizens' initiative has been approved by the Parliament.


Same-Sex Marriage in France:

Following the election of François Hollande as President of France in May 2012 and the subsequent legislative election in which the Socialist party took a majority of seats in the French National Assembly, the new Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault stated that a same-sex marriage bill had been drafted and would be passed. The government introduced a bill to legalize same-sex marriage, Bill 344, in the National Assembly on November 17, 2012. Article 1 of the bill defining marriage as an agreement between two people was passed on 2 February 2013 in its first reading by a 249–97 vote. On February 12, 2013, the National Assembly approved the entire bill in a 329–229 vote. On April 12, 2013, the upper house of the French parliament voted to legalise same-sex marriage. On 23 April 2013 the law was approved by the National Assembly in a 331–225 vote. Law No.2013-404 grants same-sex couples living in France, including foreigners provided at least one of the partners has their domicile or residence in France, the legal right to get married. The law also allows the recognition in France of same-sex couples' marriages that occurred abroad before the bill's enactment. Following the announcement of the French parliament's vote results, those in opposition to the legalisation of same-sex marriage in France participated in public protests. In both Paris and Lyon, violence erupted as protesters clashed with police; the issue has mobilised right-wing forces in the country, including neo-Nazis. The main right-wing opposition party UMP challenged the law in the Constitutional Council, which had one month to rule on whether the law conformed to the Constitution. The Constitutional Council had previously ruled that the issue of same-sex marriage was one for the legislature to decide and there was only little hope for UMP to overturn the parliament's vote. On May 17, 2013, the Constitutional Council declared the Bill legal in its entire redaction. President Hollande signed it into law on May 18, 2013.


Same-Sex Marriage in Iceland:

Same-sex marriage was introduced in Iceland through legislation establishing a gender-neutral definition of marriage introduced by the coalition government of the Social Democratic Alliance and Left-Green Movement. The legislation was passed unanimously by the Icelandic Althing on June 11, 2010, and took effect on June 27, 2010, replacing an earlier system of registered partnerships for same-sex couples. Prime Minister Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir and her partner were among the first married same-sex couples in the country.


Same-Sex Marriage in Ireland:

Ireland held a referendum on May 22, 2015. The referendum proposed to add to the Irish Constitution: "marriage may be contracted in accordance with law by two persons without distinction as to their sex". The proposal was overwhelmingly approved and endorsed by the People with 62% of the vote.


Coming Out Ireland:  First Country to Approve Same Sex Marriage by Popular Vote

The measure still awaits legislative confirmation in the Oireachtas before going into effect, though the result made Ireland the first country in the world to approve same-sex marriage at a nationwide referendum.


Same-Sex Marriage in Luxembourg:

The Parliament approved the bill to legalise same-sex marriage on 18 June 2014.  The law was published in the official gazette on 17 July and took effect 1 January 2015. On May 15, 2015, Luxembourg became the first country in the EU that has a prime minister who is in a same sex marriage, and the second one in Europe. Prime minister Xavier Bettel married Gauthier Destenay, with whom he had been in a civil partnership since 2010.


Recognition of same-sex Unions in Mexico, Same-Sex Marriage in Mexico City, Chihuahua, Coahuila, Quintana Roo:

No state law or court precedent, but recognition of SSM performed in other states due to federal law. Same-sex couples can marry in Mexico City and in the states of Chihuahua, Coahuila, and Quintana Roo. In individual cases, same-sex couples have been given judicial approval to marry in several other states. Since August 2010, same-sex marriages performed within Mexico are recognized by the 31 states without exception. On December 21, 2009, the Federal District's Legislative Assembly legalized same-sex marriages and adoption by same-sex couples. The law was enacted eight days later and became effective in early March 2010. On 10 August 2010, the Mexican Supreme Court ruled that while not every state must grant same-sex marriages, they must all recognize those performed where they are legal. On November 28, 2011, the first two same-sex marriages occurred in Quintana Roo after it was discovered that Quintana Roo's Civil Code did not explicitly prohibit same-sex marriage, but these marriages were later annulled by the governor of Quintana Roo in April 2012. In May 2012, the Secretary of State of Quintana Roo reversed the annulments and allowed for future same-sex marriages to be performed in the state. On February 11, 2014, the Congress of Coahuila approved adoptions by same-sex couples and a bill legalizing same-sex marriages passed on September 1, 2014 making Coahuila the second state to reform its Civil Code to allow same sex marriages. It took effect on 17 September, and the first couple married on 20 September. On November 13, 2014, the Supreme Court of Mexico ruled that Baja California's constitutional ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional. On January 17, 2015, the first same-sex marriage in Baja California was held in the city of Mexicali. On June 12, 2015, the governor of Chihuahua announced that his administration would no longer oppose same-sex marriages within the state. The order was effective immediately, thus making Chihuahua the third state to legalize such unions. 


On June 3, 2015, the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation released a "jurisprudential thesis" which deems the state-laws defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman unconstitutional. The ruling standardized court procedures across Mexico to authorize same-sex marriages. However, the process is still lengthy and more expensive than that for an opposite-sex marriage, as the ruling did not invalidate any state laws, meaning gay couples will be denied the right to wed and will have to turn to the courts for individual injunctions. However, given the nature of the ruling, judges and courts throughout Mexico must approve any application for a same-sex marriage. The official release of the thesis was on June 19, 2015, which takes effect June 22 2015. 


Same Sex marriage in the Netherlands:

The Netherlands was the first country to extend marriage laws to include same-sex couples, following the recommendation of a special commission appointed to investigate the issue in 1995. A same-sex marriage bill passed the House of Representatives and the Senate in 2000, taking effect on April 1, 2001. In the Dutch Caribbean special municipalities of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba, marriage is open to same-sex couples. A law enabling same-sex couples to marry in these municipalities passed and came into effect on 10 October 2012. The Caribbean countries Aruba, Curaçao and Sint Maarten, forming the remainder of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, do not perform same-sex marriages, but must recognize those performed in the Netherlands proper.


Same-Sex Marriage in New Zealand:

On May 14, 2012, Labour Party MP Louisa Wall stated that she would introduce a private member's bill, the Marriage (Definition of Marriage) Amendment Bill, allowing same-sex couples to marry. The bill was submitted to the members' bill ballot on May 30, 2012. It was drawn from the ballot and passed the first and second readings on August 29, 2012 and March 13, 2013, respectively. The final reading passed on April 17, 2013 by 77 votes to 44. The bill received Royal Assent from the Governor-General on 19 April and took effect on 19 August 2013. New Zealand marriage law only applies to New Zealand proper and the Ross Dependency in Antarctica. Other New Zealand territories, including Cook Islands, Niue and Tokelau, have their own marriage law and do not perform nor recognise same-sex marriage.


Same-sex marriage in Norway:

Same-sex marriage became legal in Norway on January 1, 2009 when a gender neutral marriage bill was enacted after being passed by the Norwegian legislature in June 2008. Norway became the first Scandinavian country and the sixth country in the world to legalize same-sex marriage. Gender neutral marriage replaced Norway's previous system of registered partnerships for same-sex couples. Couples in registered partnerships are able to retain that status or convert their registered partnership to a marriage. No new registered partnerships may be created.


Same-Sex Marriage in Portugal:

Portugal created de facto unions (união de facto in legal European Portuguese) similar to common-law marriage for cohabiting opposite-sex partners in 1999, and extended these unions to same-sex couples in 2001. However, the 2001 extension did not allow for same-sex adoption, either jointly or of stepchildren. On January 8, 2010, the parliament approved—126 votes in favor, 97 against and 7 abstentions—same-sex marriage. The Portuguese president promulgated the law on April 8, 2010 and the law was effective on June 5, 2010, making Portugal the eighth country to legalize nationwide same-sex marriage; however, adoption was still denied for same-sex couples. On February 24, 2012, the parliament rejected two bills allowing same-sex couples to adopt children. However, on May 17, 2013, the Portuguese parliament passed a law allowing same-sex married couples to adopt their partner's children. A law allowing full joint adoption was defeated with a 104–77 vote.


Same-sex Marriage in Slovenia:

In December 2014, the eco-socialist United Left party introduced a bill amending expansion of the definition of marriage in 1976 Marriage and Family Relations Act to include same-sex couples. In January 2015, the government expressed no opposition to the bill. In February 2015, the bill was passed with 11 votes to 2. In March, the Assembly passed the bill in a 51-28 vote. On March 10, 2015, the National Council rejected a motion to require the Assembly to vote on the bill again, in a 14-23 vote. While the law is yet to be signed by the president, the opponents of the bill launched a petition for a referendum. However, the referendum may be disallowed on the basis of limiting human rights.


Same-Sex Marriage in South Africa:

Legal recognition of same-sex marriages in South Africa came about as a result of the Constitutional Court's decision in the case of Minister of Home Affairs v Fourie. The court ruled on 1 December 2005 that the existing marriage laws violated the equality clause of the Bill of Rights because they discriminated on the basis of sexual orientation. The court gave Parliament one year to rectify the inequality. The Civil Union Act was passed by the National Assembly on November 14, 2006, by a vote of 230 to 41. It became law on November 30, 2006. South Africa is the fifth country, the first in Africa, and the second outside Europe, to legalize same-sex marriage.


Same-Sex Marriage in Spain:

Spain was the third country in the world to legalize same-sex marriage, which has been legal since July 3, 2005, and was supported by the majority of the Spanish people. In 2004, the nation's newly elected Socialist government, led by President José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, began a campaign for its legalization, including the right of adoption by same-sex couples. After much debate, the law permitting same-sex marriage was passed by the Cortes Generales (Spain's bicameral parliament) on June 30, 2005. King Juan Carlos, who by law has up to 30 days to decide whether to grant Royal Assent to laws, indirectly showed his approval by signing it on July 1, 2005, the same day it reached his desk. The law was published on July 2, 2005. In 2013, Pew Research Center declared Spain the most tolerant country of the world with homosexuality.


Same-Sex Marriage in Sweden:

Same-sex marriage in Sweden has been legal since May 1, 2009, following the adoption of a new, gender-neutral law on marriage by the Swedish parliament on April 1, 2009, making Sweden the seventh country in the world to open marriage to same-sex couples nationwide. Marriage replaced Sweden's registered partnerships for same-sex couples. Existing registered partnerships between same-sex couples remained in force with an option to convert them into marriages.


Same-Sex Marriage in the United Kingdom:

Since 2005 same-sex couples have been allowed to enter into civil partnerships, a separate union providing the legal consequences of marriage. In 2006 the High Court rejected a legal bid by a British lesbian couple who had married in Canada to have their union recognised as a marriage in the UK rather than a civil partnership. In September 2011, the Coalition government announced its intention to introduce same-sex civil marriage in England and Wales by the next general election in May 2015. However, unlike the Scottish Government's Consultation, the UK Government's Consultation for England and Wales did not include provision for religious ceremonies. In May 2012, three religious groups (Quakers, Liberal Judaism and Unitarians) sent a letter to David Cameron, asking that they be allowed to solemnise same-sex weddings. In June 2012 the UK Government completed the Consultation to allow civil marriage for same-sex couples in England and Wales. In its response to the Consultation, the Government said that it also intended " enable those religious organisations that wish to conduct same-sex marriage ceremonies to do so, on a permissive basis only." In December 2012, the Prime Minister, David Cameron, announced that, whilst he favoured allowing same-sex marriage within a religious context, provision would be made guaranteeing no religious institution would be required to perform such ceremonies. On February 5, 2013, the House of Commons debated the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill, approving it in a 400–175 vote at the second reading. The third reading took place on May 21, 2013, and was approved by 366 votes to 161. On 4 June 2013 the Bill received its second reading in the House of Lords, after a blocking amendment was defeated by 390 votes to 148. On July 15, 2013, the Bill was given a third reading by the House of Lords, meaning that it had been passed, and so it was then returned to Commons for the consideration of Lords' amendments. On 16 July 2013 the Commons accepted all of the Lords' amendments. On July 17, 2013 the bill received Royal Assent becoming the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013. The first same-sex marriages took place on March 29, 2014. The Scottish Government conducted a three-month-long consultation which ended on December 9, 2011 and the analysis was published in July 2012. Unlike the consultation held in England and Wales, Scotland considered both civil and religious same-sex marriage. Whilst the Scottish Government is in favour of same-sex marriage, it stated that no religious body would be forced to hold such ceremonies once legislation is enacted. The Scottish Consultation received more than 77,000 responses, and on June 27, 2013 the Government published the Bill. In order to preserve the freedom of both religious groups and individual clergy, the Scottish Government believed it necessary for changes to be made to the Equality Act 2010 and communicated with the UK Government on this matter; thus, the first same-sex marriages in Scotland did not occur until this had taken place. Although the Scottish bill concerning same-sex marriage had been published, the 'Australian' reported that LGBT rights campaigners, celebrating outside the UK parliament on July 15, 2013 for the clearance of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill in the House of Lords, declared that they would continue the campaign to extend same-sex marriage rights to both Scotland and Northern Ireland, rather than solely Northern Ireland, where there are no plans to introduce such legislation. On February 4, 2014 the Scottish Parliament overwhelmingly passed legislation legalising same-sex marriage in that country. The bill received Royal Assent as the Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Act 2014 on March 12, 2014 The law took effect on December 16, 2014, with the first same-sex weddings occurring for those converting their civil partnerships into marriage. Malcolm Brown and Joe Schofield from Tullibody, Central Lowlands, were scheduled to be the first to be declared husband and husband just after midnight on December 31, following a Humanist ceremony, but they were superseded by couples marrying on December 16. Nonetheless, Brown and Schofield were married on Hogmanay. The Northern Ireland Executive has stated that it does not intend to introduce legislation allowing for same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland. Same-sex marriages from other jurisdictions are treated as civil partnerships.


Same-Sex Marriage in the United States and Same-sex Marriage Legislation in the United States:

1.  Native American tribal jurisdictions have laws pertaining to same-sex marriage independent of state law. The federal government recognizes same-sex marriages, regardless of the current state of residence. Same-sex marriage will be de jure legal nationwide per U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges.

2.  Same-sex marriage will be legal in Louisiana when the Supreme Court of the United States issues a mandate in the case Obergefell v. Hodges.

3.  Only select jurisdictions within Kansas issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples; same-sex marriage is not recognized by the state government.


On June 26, 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled it unconstitutional for the federal government of the United States to deny federal benefits of marriage to married same-sex couples, if it is recognized or performed in a state that allows same-sex marriage. On March 20, 2015, U.S. territory Puerto Rico announced intent to reverse the previous challenge to the district court seeking Puerto Rico's recognition of a same-sex marriage performed in Massachusetts (Conde v. Garcia Padilla). Assisted by Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund, the women filed the appeal to the First Circuit Court of Appeals after the case was dismissed in October 2014. In the brief, the governor of Puerto Rico and several other cabinet members write "Because Puerto Rico's marriage ban impermissibly burdens Plaintiffs' rights to the equal protection of the laws and the fundamental right to marry, we have decided to cease defending its constitutionality." Several states offer civil unions or domestic partnerships, granting all or part of the state-level rights and responsibilities of marriage. Fourteen states (Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri (except St. Louis), Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas) and two territories (Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands) have restrictions limiting marriage to one man and one woman. There is no specific prohibition of same-sex marriage in American Samoa and the Northern Mariana Islands, but none of these territories recognize same-sex marriage. The U.S. Congress passed the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in 1996, attempting to define marriage for the first time solely as a union between a man and a woman for all federal purposes, and allowing states to refuse to recognize such marriages created in other states. Citizens for Equal Protection v. Bruning (2005), holding that prohibiting recognition of same-sex relationships violated the Constitution, was overturned on appeal by the U.S. Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals in 2006, which ruled that "laws limiting the state-recognized institution of marriage to heterosexual couples ... do not violate the Constitution of the United States." However this decision no longer has a precedent-setting due to Windsor v. United States, where the Supreme Court, stated that "DOMA is unconstitutional as a deprivation of the equal liberty of persons that is protected by the Fifth Amendment". The Washington Supreme Court, also in 2006, concluded that encouraging procreation within the framework of marriage can be seen as a legitimate government interest furthered by limiting marriage to between mixed-sex couples. In 2010, the U.S. District Court for Northern California ruled in Perry v. Schwarzenegger that evidence did not show any historical purpose for excluding same-sex couples from marriage, as states have never required spouses to have an ability or willingness to procreate in order to marry. Since then, eight federal courts have found that DOMA violates the U.S. Constitution in issues including bankruptcy, public employee benefits, estate taxes, and immigration. Striking down Section 3 of DOMA in Windsor v. United States (2012), the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals became the first court to hold sexual orientation to be a quasi-suspect classification, and determined that laws that classify people on such basis should be subject to intermediate scrutiny. President Barack Obama announced on May 9, 2012, that "I think same-sex couples should be able to get married". Obama also supports the full repeal of DOMA, and called the state constitutional bans on same-sex marriage in California (2008) and North Carolina (2012) unnecessary. In 2011, the Obama Administration concluded that DOMA was unconstitutional and directed the U.S. Justice Department (DOJ) to stop defending the law in court. Subsequently, Eric Cantor, Republican majority leader in the U.S. House of Representatives, announced that the House would defend DOMA. The law firm hired to represent the House soon withdrew from defending the law, requiring the House to retain replacement counsel. In the past two decades, public support for same-sex marriage has steadily increased, and polls indicate that more than half of Americans support same-sex marriage. Voters in Maine, Maryland and Washington approved same-sex marriage by referendum on November 6, 2012. In August 2010, California's Proposition 8 was found unconstitutional by U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker. That ruling was appealed and later upheld by a federal appeals court in February 2012. Proposition 8 proponents then appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, and same-sex couples in California were not allowed to legally marry until the Supreme Court issued an opinion. On June 26, 2013, the Supreme Court in Hollingsworth v. Perry issued an opinion that the appellants did not have standing. As a result, the Ninth Circuit's ruling was vacated, leaving only the district court's order overturning Proposition 8. On June 26, 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court also issued an opinion finding Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) to be unconstitutional. On October 6, 2014, the U.S. Supreme Court denied review of five writ petitions from decisions of appellate courts finding constitutional right to same-sex marriage. The immediate effect was to increase to 25 the number of states allowing same sex marriage. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg officiated at a same-sex wedding during the 2013 Labor Day weekend in what is believed to be a first for a member of the Supreme Court. A poll conducted in 2014 showed a record high of 59% of the American people supporting legal recognition for same-sex marriage. 


On June 26, 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5–4 in Obergefell v. Hodges that states cannot prohibit the issuing of marriage licenses to same-sex couples, or to deny recognition of lawfully performed out of state marriage licenses to same-sex couples. This ruling invalidated same-sex marriage bans in any U.S. State.


Same-sex marriage in Uruguay:

Uruguay's Chamber of Deputies passed a bill on December 12, 2012, to extend marriage rights to same-sex couples. The Senate passed the bill on  April 2, 2013, but with minor amendments. On April 10, 2013, the Chamber of Deputies passed the amended bill by a two-thirds majority (71–22). The president promulgated the law on May 3, 2013 and it took effect on August 5.

Recognition of Same-Sex Unions in Andorra:

On March 31, 2014, the Social Democratic Party introduced the bill to legalize same-sex marriage. On May 29, 2014, the bill was rejected by the parliament.

Recognition of Same-Sex Unions in Australia:

Australian federal law currently bans recognition of same-sex marriages. Registered partnerships are available in New South Wales, Tasmania, Queensland and Victoria. Since July 1, 2009, Centrelink has recognised same-sex couples equally with those who are married regarding social security, whether they are in a registered or de facto relationship. In February 2010, the Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young's Marriage Equality Bill was rejected by the Senate. Hanson-Young re-introduced the bill to the Senate in September 2010. The bill will sit on a notice paper until the major parties agree to a conscience vote on it. A Greens motion urging federal MPs to gauge community support for same-sex marriage was passed by the House of Representatives on November 18, 2010. In September 2010, Tasmania became the first Australian state to recognise same-sex marriages performed in other jurisdictions, although only with de facto status. In 2011, the federal Labor Party changed its position to allow a conscience vote on a vote on same-sex marriage, despite then-Prime Minister Julia Gillard's opposition to such a vote. The Liberal Party was opposed to same-sex marriage and then-Opposition Leader Tony Abbott said he would block a conscience vote on the issue. On September 19, 2012, a bill before the Australian House of Representatives to legalize same-sex marriage was defeated 42 to 98 votes. In June 2013, as one of his first speeches after returning as Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd made it clear that he was proud to be the first Australian PM to support same-sex marriage, declaring he would consider a plebiscite or referendum on the issue, although he was defeated before he could take this action. After the change of government in September 2013, Abbott became Prime Minister and repeated his declaration of opposition to same-sex marriage. On October 22, 2013, a bill was passed by the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) legalising same-sex marriage in the ACT. However, the High Court found that the legal change was never valid and an official reversal of the bill was announced on 12 December 2013. The High Court established that such a change to ACT legislation could not operate concurrently with the federal Marriage Act. In November 2014, Senator Leyonhjelm introduced a bill to legalise same-sex marriage in Australia. Tony Abbott, repeated his opposition to same-sex marriage, indicated that he did not think it was suitable timing with the government already having issues in unrelated matters. There was a call by some groups, such as the Greens, for Abbott to allow Liberal Party members a conscience vote on the issue. In May 2015, following the approval of the referendum in Ireland, Opposition leader Bill Shorten announced he would move a bill allowing same sex marriage to the House of Representatives. In a massive change in tone, Prime Minister Tony Abbott announced that Liberal Party members may be allowed to have a conscience vote, and said a vote on the issue in August would be more appropriate.

Recognition of Same-Sex Unions in Austria:

On November 20, 2013, the opposition party The Greens introduced a bill in Parliament that would legalise same-sex marriage. It was sent to the Judiciary Committee on December 17, 2013. The bill was supposed to be debated in Autumn 2014, but was delayed by the ruling coalition.

Recognition of Same-Sex Unions in Chile:

Michelle Bachelet, the president of Chile, who was elected to a second term in March 2014, has promised to work for the implementation of same-sex marriage and has a majority in both houses of Congress. Previously, she said, "Marriage equality, I believe we have to make it happen." Polling shows majority support for same-sex marriage among Chileans. On December 10, 2014, a group of senators, from various parties, joined LGBT rights group MOVILH (Homosexual Movement of Integration and Liberation) in presenting a bill to allow same-sex marriage and adoption to Congress. MOVILH has been in talks with the Chilean government to seek an amiable solution to the pending marriage lawsuit brought against the state before the Inter-American Court of Human Rights. MOVILH has suggested that they would drop the case if Bachelet's Congress keeps their promise to legislate same-sex marriage. Meanwhile, on January 28, 2015, the National Congress approved a bill recognizing civil unions for same-sex and opposite-sex couples offering some of the rights of marriage. Bachelet signed the bill April 14, and will come into effect in six months.

Recognition of Same-Sex Unions in China:

The Marriage Law of the People's Republic of China explicitly defines marriage as the union between one man and one woman. No other form of civil union is recognized. The attitude of the Chinese government towards homosexuality is believed to be "three nos": "No approval; no disapproval; no promotion." The Ministry of Health officially removed homosexuality from its list of mental illnesses in 2001. Li Yinhe, a sociologist and sexologist well known in the Chinese gay community, has tried to legalize same-sex marriage several times, including during the National People's Congress in 2000 and 2004 (Legalization for Same-Sex Marriage 《中国同性婚姻合法化》 in 2000 and the Same-Sex Marriage Bill 《中国同性婚姻提案》 in 2004). According to Chinese law, 35 delegates' signatures are needed to make an issue a bill to be discussed in the Congress. Her efforts failed due to lack of support from the delegates. A government spokesperson, when asked about Li Yinhe's proposal, said that same-sex marriage was still too "ahead of its time" for China. He argued that same-sex marriage was not recognized even in many Western countries, which are considered much more liberal in social issues than China. This statement is understood as an implication that the government may consider recognition of same-sex marriage in the long run, but not in the near future.

Recognition of Same-Sex Unions in Colombia:

Colombia has no laws providing for same-sex marriage. However, as a result of subsequent rulings by the country's Constitutional Court that started on February 2007, same-sex couples can apply for all the rights that heterosexual couples have in de facto unions (uniones de hecho). On July 26, 2011, the Constitutional Court of Colombia ordered the Congress to pass the legislation giving same-sex couples similar rights to marriage by June 20, 2013. If such a law were not passed by then, same-sex couples would be granted these rights automatically. In October 2012 Senator Armando Benedetti introduced a bill legalizing same-sex marriage. It initially only allowed for civil unions, but he amended the text. The Senate's First Committee approved the bill on December 4, 2012. On 24 April 2013, the bill was defeated in the full Senate on a 51–17 vote. On July 24, 2013, a civil court judge in Bogotá declared a male same-sex couple legally married, after a ruling on July 11, 2013 accepting the petition. This was the first same-sex couple married in Colombia. In September 2013, two civil court judges married two same-sex couples. The first marriage was challenged by a conservative group, and it was initially annulled. Nevertheless, in October a High Court (Tribunal Supremo de Bogotá) maintained the validity of that marriage.

Recognition of Same-Sex Unions in Germany:

Since August 1, 2001, Germany has registered partnerships (Eingetragene Lebenspartnerschaft) for same-sex couples, providing most but not all rights of marriage. In 2004, this act was amended to include adoption rights (stepchild adoption only) and to reform previously cumbersome dissolution procedures with regard to division of property and alimony. Attempts to give equal rights to registered partners or to legalize same-sex marriage have generally been blocked by the CDU/CSU, the main party in government since 2005. All other main parties (SPD, The Greens, The Left and FDP) support full LGBT equality. The Federal Constitutional Court of Germany has issued various rulings in favor of equal rights for same-sex registered partners (such as joint tax filing benefits), requiring the governing coalition to change the law.

Recognition of Same-Sex Unions in India:

Same-sex marriage is not explicitly prohibited under Indian law and at least one couple has had their marriage recognised by the courts. In April 2014 Medha Patkar of the Aam Aadmi Party stated that her party supports the legalisation of same-sex marriage.

Same-Sex Marriage in Israel:

Israel's High Court of Justice ruled to honor same-sex marriages granted in other countries, in line with its recognition of other civil marriages; Israel does not recognize civil marriages performed under its own jurisdiction. A bill was raised in the Knesset (parliament) to rescind the High Court's ruling, but the Knesset has not advanced the bill since December 2006. A bill to legalize same-sex and interfaith civil marriages was defeated in the Knesset, 39–11, on May 16, 2012.

Recognition of Same-Sex Unions in Italy:

Notwithstanding a long history of legislative proposals for civil unions, Italy does not recognize any type of same-sex unions. Several regions have formally supported efforts for a national law on civil unions and some municipalities have passed laws providing for civil unions. On April 9, 2014, the Civil Court of Grosseto ordered that a same-sex marriage contracted abroad be recognised in the municipality. The cities of Bologna, Naples and Fano began recognizing same-sex marriages from other jurisdictions in July 2014, followed by Empoli, Pordenone, Udine and Trieste in September, and Florence, Piombino, Milan and Rome in October, and by Bagheria in November. Other cities that are considering similar laws include Cagliari, Livorno, Syracuse, Pompei and Treviso. A January 2013 Datamonitor poll found that 54.1% of respondents were in favour of same-sex marriage. A May 2013 Ipsos poll found that 42% of Italians supported allowing same-sex couples to marry and adopt children.  An October 2014 Demos poll found that 55% of respondents were in favour of same sex marriage, with 42% against.

Same-sex Marriage in Japan:

Same-sex marriage is not legal in Japan. Article 24 of the Japanese constitution states that "Marriage shall be based only on the mutual consent of both sexes and it shall be maintained through mutual cooperation with the equal rights of husband and wife as a basis." Article 24 was created to establish the equality of both sexes in marriage, in opposition to the pre-war legal situation whereby the husband/father was legally defined as the head of household and marriage require permission from the male head of the family. The wording, however, inadvertently defined marriage as the union of man and woman.

Recognition of Same-Sex Unions in Malta:

Malta has recognized same-sex unions since April 2014, following the enactment of the Civil Unions Bill, first introduced in September 2013. It established civil unions with same rights, responsibilities, and obligations as marriage, including the right of joint adoption and recognition of foreign same sex marriage. Parliament gave final approval to the legislation on April 14, 2014 by a vote of 37 in favour and 30 abstentions. President Marie Louise Coleiro Preca signed it into law on April 16. The first foreign same sex marriage was registered on April 29, 2014 and the first Civil Unions began on June 14, 2014.

Same-Sex Marriage in Nepal:

In November 2008, Nepal's highest court issued final judgment on matters related to LGBT rights, which included permitting same-sex couples to marry. Same-sex marriage and protection for sexual minorities were to be included in the new Nepalese constitution required to be completed by May 31, 2012. However, the legislature was unable to agree on the constitution before the deadline and was dissolved after the Supreme Court ruled that the term could not be extended.

Recognition of Same-Sex Unions in Poland:

In Poland, the national debate regarding recognition of same-sex marriage is conducted along the debate about civil partnerships. In a 2013 opinion poll conducted by CBOS, 72% of Poles were against same-sex marriage. In 2015, one of the postulates of Marsz Równości (Łódź) was the recognition of same-sex marriages.

Recognition of Same-Sex Unions in Slovenia:

On December 15, 2014, the opposition party United Left introduced a bill into Parliament that would legalise same-sex marriage. On February 10, 2015, the Committee on Labour, Family, Social Policy and Disability of the National Assembly passed the bill 11 votes to 2 in its second reading. Parliament approved the bill onMarch 3, 2015 by a vote of 51 to 28. The bill now needs to be signed into law by the President. After the President's signature, the law will be published in the Official Gazzette. It will become valid fifteen days after publication and come into effect six months later. Meanwhile, in mid-March a thirty-five-day term will begin, in which proposers of an eventual referendum against the law have to collect 40,000 signatures in its support. If they succeed, the National Assembly has to call the referendum in 7 days, unless they ask the Constitutional Court for a review. The Court may declare the referendum unconstitutional, otherwise the referendum will take place. The referendum will only be successful if a majority of participants and at least 20% of all eligible voters vote against the law.

Recognition of Same-Sex Unions in Switzerland:

A same-sex marriage bill is pending in Parliament after the Green Liberal Party of Switzerland, in December 2013, opposed a Christian Democratic People's Party of Switzerland's initiative banning same-sex marriage. The Committee for Legal Affairs of the National Council approved this parliamentary initiative by 12:1 and 1 abstention on February 20, 2015. It now must be examined by the Upper house. In a poll in June 2013 for ifop, 63% approved same-sex marriage. After the National Council's Committee of Law Affairs' decision to approve same-sex marriage, two opinion polls released on 22 February 2015 showed a support of 54% (Léger Marketing for Blick) and 71% (GfS Zurich for SonntagsZeitung) allowing same-sex couples to marry and adopt children. In March 2015, the Swiss Federal Council released a Governmental report about marriage and new rights for families. It opens the possibility to introduce a registered partnership for straight couples as well as same-sex marriage for gay and lesbian couples. The Swiss President Simonetta Sommaruga in charge of the Federal Department of Justice and Police also stated she hoped personally that gay and lesbian couples would soon be allowed to marry.

Same-Sex Marriage in Taiwan:

On December 22, 2014, a proposed amendment to the Civil Code which would legalize same-sex marriage was due to go under review by the Judiciary Committee. If the amendment passes the committee stage it will then be voted on at the plenary session of the Legislative Yuan in 2015. The amendment, called the marriage equality amendment, would insert neutral terms into the Civil Code replacing ones that imply heterosexual marriage, effectively legalizing same-sex marriage. It would also allow same-sex couples to adopt children. Yu Mei-nu of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), who is the convener of the current legislative session, has expressed support for the amendment as have more than 20 other DPP lawmakers as well as two from the Taiwan Solidarity Union and one each from the Kuomintang and the People First Party. Taiwan would become the first country in Asia to legalize same-sex marriage if the Civil Code is amended.

Same-sex marriage in Thailand:

A same-sex-marriage bill before the parliament has bipartisan support, but as of April 2014 has been stalled due to the political crisis in the country.[299] In the second half of 2014, reports emerged that a draft bill called the Civil Partnership Act will be submitted to the junta-appointed Thai Parliament.

Recognition of Same-Sex Unions in Turkey:

In the process of rewriting the Turkish constitution, the opposition party BDP called for the liberalization of marriage policies to include same-sex marriage. The largest opposition party in the Turkish parliament, CHP, supported the idea. The largest party in the parliament, the AKP, opposes same-sex marriage, although Premier Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the leader of the AKP, supported full equal rights for LGBT citizens in 2002, the year he launched his party. In response to a request from BDP, a parliamentary discussion of same-sex marriage is anticipated when all political parties gather in committees to establish a new constitution. In a poll of Turkish attitudes towards sexuality, 3.6% of Turks supported same-sex marriages.

Same-sex marriage in Vietnam:

In Vietnam, currently only a marriage between a man and a woman is recognized. Vietnam's Ministry of Justice began seeking advice on legalizing same-sex marriage from other governmental and non-governmental organizations in April and May 2012, and planned to further discuss the issue at the National Assembly in Spring 2013. However, in February 2013, the Ministry of Justice requested that the National Assembly avoid action until 2014. At a hearing to discuss marriage law reforms in April 2013, deputy minister of health Nguyen Viet Tien proposed that same-sex marriage be made legal immediately. The Vietnamese government abolished an administrative fine imposed on same-sex weddings in 2013. The policy will be enacted on Nov 11,2013. The 100,000–500,000 VND ($24USD) fine will be abolished. Although same-sex marriages are not permitted in Vietnam, the policy will decriminalize the relationship, habitual privileges such as household registry, property, child raising, and co-habitual partnerships are recognized. In June 2013, the National Assembly began formal debate on a proposal to establish legal recognition for same-sex marriage. On September 24, 2013, the Government issued the decree abolishing the fines on same-sex marriages. The decree took effect on November 11, 2013. On May 27, 2014, the National Assembly's Committee for Social Affairs removed the provision giving legal status and some rights to cohabiting same-sex couples from the government's bill to amend the Law on Marriage and Family. The bill was approved by the National Assembly on June 19, 2014. On January 1, 2015, the 2014 Law on Marriage and Family officially went into effect. It states that while Vietnam allows gay weddings, it will not offer legal recognition or protection to unions between people of the same sex.


Countries Where Same-Sex Marriage is Legal - As of June 26, 2015

International Organizations:

The terms of employment of the staff of international organizations (not commercial) in most cases are not governed by the laws of the country where their offices are located. Agreements with the host country safeguard these organizations' impartiality. Despite their relative independence, few organizations recognize same-sex partnerships without condition. The agencies of the United Nations recognize same-sex marriages if and only if the country of citizenship of the employees in question recognizes the marriage. In some cases, these organizations do offer a limited selection of the benefits normally provided to mixed-sex married couples to de facto partners or domestic partners of their staff, but even individuals who have entered into a mixed-sex civil union in their home country are not guaranteed full recognition of this union in all organizations. However, the World Bank does recognize domestic partners.