Where Can Same Sex Couples Get Married?

Sixteen countries have so far authorised marriages between people of the same sex.


  • NETHERLANDS: In April 2001 became the first country in the world to legalise marriage equality. Includes the right to adoption.
  • BELGIUM: same sex couples in Belgium won the right to marry in June 2003 and in April 2006 parliament voted into law a bill allowing same sex couples to adopt children.
  • SPAIN: In July 2005 became the third member of the European Union to pass a law to allow marriage equality. Gay and lesbian couples can adopt children.
  • CANADA: The law allowing same sex couples to marry and adopt children came into force in July 2005.
  • SOUTH AFRICA: In November 2006 became the first African country to legalise marriage equality.
  • NORWAY: A January 2009 law allows same sex couples to marry and adopt children and permits lesbians to be artificially inseminated.
  • SWEDEN: Sweden's same sex couples have been allowed to wed in religious or civil ceremonies since May 2009.
  • PORTUGAL: Under a June 1, 2010 law Portugal legalised marriage equality, while excluding the right to adoption.
  • ICELAND: Prime Minister Johanna Sigurdardottir married her long-time partner in June 2010 as a new law legalising marriage equality came into force.
  • ARGENTINA: On July 15, 2010 a bill that legalises marriage equality came into force -- a Latin American first. Same sex couples can adopt children.
  • DENMARK: Marriage equality became legal in Denmark on 15 June 2012, after the Danish parliament voted on 7 June in favour of gender-neutral marriage, including marriages in the Church of Denmark.
  • BRAZIL: Same-sex unions have been legally recognized in Brazil since 2004. Same-sex marriage has been a right of all same-sex couples to access since May 14, 2013 due tu a sweeping Federal Court ruling, which denies notaries of states who do not recognise same-sex marriage the right to refuse to perform same-sex marriages.
  • FRANCE: Same-sex marriage has been legal in France since 18 May 2013. 
  • ENGLAND AND WALES: On 17 July 2013, the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013 received Royal Assent and it is expected to come into force in mid-2014.
  • URUGUAY: Same-sex marriage becomes legal 1 August 2013.
  • NEW ZEALAND: Same sex marriage becomes legal 18 August 2013
  • SCOTLAND: Same sex marriage was passed by Scottish Parliament in February 2014, and took effect on 16 December 2014.
  • LUXEMBOURG: Same sex marriage became legal on 1 January 2015.

Two countries allow marriage on part of their territory: the United States -- the states of Connecticut (2008), Washington DC (2009), Iowa (2009), Massachusetts (2004), Maryland (2012), Maine (2012), New Hampshire (2010), New York (2011), Vermont (2009), Washington State (2012), Deleware (2013), California (2013), Minnesota (2013), Rhode Island (2013), and Mexico in the federal capital.

Other countries have adopted legislation on civil partnerships, notably Germany, Finland, New Zealand, Britain, Ireland, the Czech Republic, Switzerland, Uruguay and Colombia.