Summary of Marriage Equality Status Worldwide

31 Jan 2011

Here is a breakdown of legislation on gay marriages around the world, after the French constitutional court on Friday upheld the country's gay marriage ban.

Ten 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 same-sex marriage. Includes the right to adoption.
  • BELGIUM: Homosexual couples in Belgium won the right to marry in June 2003 and in April 2006 parliament voted into law a bill allowing homosexual couples to adopt children.
  • SPAIN: In July 2005 became the third member of the European Union to pass a law to allow same-sex marriages. Gay couples can adopt children.
  • CANADA: The law allowing gay couples to marry and adopt children came into force in July 2005.
  • SOUTH AFRICA: In November 2006 became the first African country to legalise same-sex marriage.
  • NORWAY: A January 2009 law allows homosexuals to marry and adopt children and permits lesbians to be artificially inseminated.
  • SWEDEN: Sweden's homosexuals have been allowed to wed in religious or civil ceremonies since May 2009.
  • PORTUGAL: Under a June 1, 2010 law Portugal legalised gay marriage, while excluding the right to adoption.
  • ICELAND: Prime Minister Johanna Sigurdardottir married her long-time partner in June 2010 as a new law legalising homosexual marriages came into force.
  • ARGENTINA: On July 15, 2010 a bill that legalizes same-sex marriage came into force -- a Latin American first. Homosexual couples can adopt children.


Two countries allow gay marriage on part of their territory: the United States -- the states of Iowa, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire and the capital Washington DC, and Mexico in the federal capital.

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


Via Gay Marriage Watch