Gay Marriage: 27 Countries That Allow Same Sex Marriage

Many governments all over the world are now considering whether they should grant a legal recognition to gay marriage and legalise gay and lesbian rights. There are many countries that allow same sex marriage or gay marriage. Let’s check them out!

As far as same sex marriages in the US is concerned, on the 26th of June, 2014, the Supreme Court of the US declared that gay marriage was legal in all the 50 states of the country, Earlier, it was legal in 37 states as well as Washington DC, and banned in the rest of the 13 states.

Gay Rights in the US

There is a lot of discrimination, abuse and violence against people who have a different sexual orientation. The LGBT community, consisting of lesbians; gays; bisexuals and transgenders, consists of several activists who represent their issues.

  • When we see the history of same sex marriage in the US, the first gay rights organisation was founded in 1924 by Henry Gerber in Chicago.
  • Despite this, the LGBT community were harassed and persecuted in bars, restaurants and the like.

Note: At the time, in New York, liquor laws prohibited the serving of alcohol to gay men/women.

  • However, since then, the gay rights movement has seen a lot of progress during the last two decades due to the gay rights organisations.
  • Many laws prohibiting the practice of homosexuality have been abolished.
  • LGBT people can also serve now in the military, play at the national sports events and so on.
  • They are allowed to marry within the same sex and adopt children. This is applicable to all the 50 states of the US.

Note: California is the one state with the biggest community of gay/lesbian population and has played a major role in the gay marriage debates.

countries where same sex marriage is legal

Legal Status of Gay Marriages/Lesbian Marriages – Gay Rights

Is same sex marriage legal? Same sex marriage has received legal acceptance in the following countries, either throughout the country or in certain parts of it.

Where is gay marriage legal? Beginning with The Netherlands in 2000, these are the 27 countries that allow same sex marriages.

The Netherlands in 2000

Netherlands was the first country to legalise gay marriage and has paved the way for gay and lesbian rights and same sex marriages in the world.

  • Same gender marriage is allowed in Netherlands since 2001.
  • More than 15,000 gay couples have since then been married. According to the Radio Netherlands site, 20% of around 55000 gay couples in the country are married.
  • The first gay marriage took place on April 2001, with the Mayor of Amsterdam being the first registrar in the world who got a same sex couple married.

Belgium in 2003 – One of the Countries Where Gay Marriages is Legal

Belgium was the 2nd country in the world to recognize gay marriages, but with certain restrictions.

  • Belgium allows gay and lesbian marriage if at least one of the partners has lived in Belgium for at least 3 months.
  • However, the law also gave permission for adoption in a homosexual marriage, so that they could legally parent children.
  • Within 2 years, there were around 2442 gay marriages in the country.

Same Sex Marriage Legal in Canada and Spain in 2005

  • Data collected by 2006 census showed that there were over 45,000 gay/lesbian couples in Canada, with 16.5% married. This increased to 33.4% of gay/lesbian marriage with 72,000 declared couples in the 2016 census.
  • Ontario and British Columbia became the first provinces legalizing gay marriages and LGBT rights.
  • Spain passed the same sex marriage law 17 days before Canada did.
  • The Roman Catholic authorities were opposed to the gay wedding law and were against same sex marriage.
  • During the first year, there were 4500 same sex marriages in Spain.
  • At least one of the partners must be a citizen of Spain.

South Africa in 2006

  • However, religious institutions as well as civil officers can refuse to conduct such ceremonies, which seems to be a violation of the constitution.
  • The Zulu people’s monarch still continues to maintain that such gay marriages are morally incorrect, disapproving of gay marriage rights.

Norway in 2008 Making Gay Marriage Legal

  • It is one of the friendliest countries for gay people in the world, as the people do not discriminate against same sex couple, enabling marriage equality.
  • Oslo has a big percentage of same sex couples and there are plenty of events as well as venues that are gay friendly, such as the Scandinavian Ski Pride and other winter sports.

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Sweden in 2009

Sweden is also one of the countries that is very gay friendly.

  • There are parties and celebrations for gay couples during the Stockholm Pride week, attracting about 45,000 LGBTQ participants.
  • The LGBTQ community here enjoy the same opportunities/rights as straight couples.
  • The country also passed a law prohibiting discrimination based on people’s sexual orientation in 2011, thereby reducing same sex marriage issues.

Iceland, Portugal and Argentina Legalized Same Sex Marriage in 2010

  • Iceland is the only country in this world that has an open gay head of the state.
  • The attitude in the country towards same sex wedding is very pragmatic and relaxed and gay marriages are not considered a serious political issue or even controversial.
  • Portugal now allows same sex couples to adopt the partner’s children.
  • The law also assists lesbian couples in artificial insemination, etc.
  • Buenos Aires in Argentina is slowly becoming the Mecca for same sex marriage tourism.

Denmark Allowed Gay Marriage in 2012

  • Same sex marriage is welcomed in Denmark, wherever the person is from, even if the marriage is not recognized in the person’s home country.
  • Documentation needed are simple, straightforward and the marriage takes place without any hassles, almost similar to a straight marriage.

Uruguay, New Zealand, France, Brazil, and England-Wales in 2013

  • Uruguay is the second Latin country to approve and legalise gay marriage.
  • Uruguay now also allows adoption for gay couples and allows them to join the armed forces.
  • The LGBTQ rights attained a great victory in France, with more than 7000 same sex marriages registered in the country in the same year.
  • In Brazil, same rights are applicable to homosexual couples, as heterosexual couples, namely joint declaration of their income tax; pension; sharing of property; health benefits extension to partners and so on.
  • After the legislation was passed in England and Wales effective from midnight, some gay weddings started taking place early in the morning.

Scotland and Luxembourg in 2014

  • Scotland prides itself on being a progressive country, but homosexuality became legal only in 1980.
  • Luxembourg’s PM Xavier Bettel is the world’s only openly gay prime minister married to Gauthier Destenay, now the First Gentleman of Luxembourg.

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Ireland, Greenland, the United States, Colombia in 2016

  • Ireland voted for gay marriages by a huge majority of 62% and legalised the social revolution. Earlier, the republic was dominated by the bishops of its Catholic church, but now it has become a more liberal society.
  • Greenland is a model country with no ranting against gay marriages, no bans and no long government debates. It was just passed quietly by the parliament.
  • President Bill Clinton signed the Defense of Marriage Act.
  • Hawaii was the first state in the US to recognize same sex married couples had the same rights as heterosexual married couples.
  • Columbia was the 4th country in Latin America to legalise gay marriages. Previously they were permitted to civil partnerships.

Germany, Malta, Australia in 2017

  • The ruling came about when the Chancellor said that politicians could follow their conscience and vote on the issue without being forced to follow party lines. Thus, a four year old bill was quickly passed.
  • It was a historic vote for an overwhelming Catholic country to pass a law legalising same sex couple marriages.
  • The Australian government first changed the definition of marriage from ‘union of man and woman’ to ‘union of two people’. It later made changes related to Family Law; Sex Discrimination; Migration; Defence Force Act.

India in 2018

  • On the 6th of September 2018, the Supreme Court of India issued the verdict and legalised homosexuality, stating that the Section 377 violated the individual’s rights, thereby overturning the 2013 judgement.
  • The Indian court has legalised homosexuality as part of human sexuality and consensual acts are legal for the LGBT community.
  • However, the ruling does not apply to Jammu and Kashmir, which has a separate criminal law known as the RPC.

Same Sex Marriage Debate

People all over the world are constantly debating the pros and cons of gay marriage and whether it should be legalised, leading to same sex marriage arguments.

  • According to the gay rights activists, discriminatory laws are unconstitutional and same sex couples should also enjoy all the rights enjoyed by opposite sex couples, with respect to taxation rules; buying property; inheriting property or adoption.
  • Gay people are also equally in love with each other, just like a heterosexual couple and have the right to bond and commit to each other by means of marriage.
  • Proponents claim that the state has no right to interfere with the decisions of two consenting adults, irrespective of religion; nationality or sex.
  • As for the opponents of gay marriage, marriage is basically defined as a union between a man and a women and it is primarily meant for procreation
  • They claim that it also undermines religion and goes against many religions of the world. Many Christian, Jewish, Islamic leaders have opposed gay marriage, claiming that it goes against their sacred writings.
  • Thirdly, opponents claim that as a result the state should also legalise polygamy or incest in marriage.

Last Word

However, the work is not over. There are still around 74 countries of the world, which are countries that have not legalised gay marriages. LGBT activists are hoping there will be rulings in their favor in countries like Trinidad and Kenya. A similar ruling on the laws against homosexuality is expected in Kenya favoring gay sex. In contrast, Yemen and Iran are countries where homosexuality is punishable by death.

Homosexual couples are still fighting for rights related to housing and employment. There are still no laws against discrimination at workplace. Also, the religious liberty laws are used by businesses to deny jobs to LGBT people. There are also bathroom laws, whereby transgenders can only use public bathrooms that correspond with their sex at birth.

Yet, there is a glimmer of hope for gay couples from every corner of the earth, as the precedent has been set!

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