The 28 countries around the world where same-sex marriage is legal

Antoine Antoniol/Getty ImagesPeople demonstrate for the legalisation of gay marriage and parenting on December 16, 2012 in Paris, France.

People fighting for same-sex marriage rights around the world have seen global support increase in recent years. Australia,Malta, and Germany legalised same-sex marriage in 2017, and Taiwan made history last month , becoming the first government in Asia to welcome legislation on marriage equality.

Ecuador is the latest nation to join the fold, as the country’s highest court on Wednesday voted 5-4 in favour of legalizing same-sex marriage after a long legal battle with same-sex couples and advocates. The court has instructed the government to pass legislation ensuring equal treatment for all citizens who wish to marry.

There are currently only 28 countries that allow same-sex couples to marry.

Keep scrolling to read the full list:


1. In 2001, the Netherlands became the first country to legalise same-sex marriages.

Jasper Juinen/Getty ImagesRevelers on a boat parade the Prinsengracht canal participating in the Amsterdam Canal Parade during Amsterdam Gay Pride on August 2, 2014 in Amsterdam, Netherlands.

The legislation gave same-sex couples the right to marry, divorce, and adopt children.

Source: CBS News


2. Belgium followed suit in 2003 and granted equal rights to same-sex married couples.

flamenc/Creative CommonsWedding conducted by Lord Mayor Willy Demeyer in Leige, Belgium on July 13, 2013.

Beginning in 1998, the Belgian parliament offered limited rights to same-sex couples through registered partnerships. In 2003, the parliament legally recognised same-sex marriages.

Source: The Guardian


3. In 2005, the Canadian Parliament passed legislation making same-sex marriage legal nationwide.

Ian Willms/Getty ImagesSpectators watch along Yonge Street, at the annual Pride Festival parade, July 3, 2016 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

In 1999, some provincial governments extended common law marriages to gay and lesbian couples, providing them with most of the legal benefits of marriage but laws varied across the country.

Source: CBC News


4. Also in 2005, a closely divided Spanish parliament agreed to do the same.

Pablo Blazquez Dominguez/Getty ImagesA reveler dressed with a gay pride flag walks the streets next to Cibeles Square before the Pride Parade during the Madrid Gay Pride Festival on June 29, 2016 in Madrid, Spain.

The law guaranteed identical rights to all married couples regardless of sexual orientation.

Source: New York Times


5. After South Africa’s highest court ruled the country’s marriage laws violated the constitution’s guarantee of equal rights, parliament legalised same-sex marriage in 2006.

Lesbian Angels/Creative CommonsLesbian Angels march at the Gay Pride in Johannesburg, South Africa, October 7, 2006.

Exemptions were also included in the new marriage law. Both religious institutions and civil officers could refuse to conduct same-sex marriage ceremonies.

Source: NBC News


6. In 1993 Norway allowed gay couples to enter civil unions, but it took until 2008 for a Norway to pass a gender-neutral marriage law.

Graeme Maclean/Creative CommonsA fjord in Norway, with the Norwegian flag in the foreground, October 14 206.

In January 2009, the bill was enacted into law, and gay couples were legally granted the right to marry, adopt children and receive artificial insemination.

Source: NBC News


7. In 2009, Sweden voted overwhelmingly in favour of legalizing same-sex marriage.

Sergey Ashmarin/Creative CommonsA pride flag waves on Saint James Church in Stockholm, Sweden, December 26, 2010.

The bill passed with 261 votes in favour, 22 votes against and had 16 abstentions.

Source: BBC News


8. Iceland’s parliament voted unanimously to legalise same-sex marriage in 2010.

Henna/Creative CommonsLGBT pride march in Reykjavik, Iceland in August 2004.

Iceland’s then-Prime Minister Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir married her longtime partner Jonina Leosdottir as the law came into effect.

Source: The Telegraph


9. Portugal has also allowed same-sex marriage since 2010, after legislation was originally challenged by the country’s president.

Pedro/Creative CommonsA girl carries a flag during the LGBT march in Lisbon, Portugal, June 18, 2016.

Portugal had passed a measure legalizing same-sex marriage in February of 2010, but Portugal’s former president, Anibal Cavaco Silva, asked the Constitutional Court to review the measure. In April 2010, the Constitutional Court declared the law to be constitutionally valid.

Source: The Guardian


10. In 2010, Argentina became the first Latin American country to allow same-sex marriage.

Beatrice Murch/Creative CommonsLGBT Pride Marcha del Orgullo in Buenos Aires, Argentina on November 7, 2009.

Prior to the same-sex marriage law, a number of local jurisdictions, including the nation’s capital, Buenos Aires, had enacted laws allowing gays and lesbians to enter into civil unions.

Source: The Guardian


11. Denmark’s legalization came in 2012 after Queen Margrethe II gave her royal assent to the proposed legislation.

Ankara/Creative CommonsThe Danish National Association of Gays & Lesbians at Copenhagen’s LGBT Pride March in 2009.

Denmark was the first country to allow same-sex couples to register as domestic partners in 1989.

Source: BBC News


12. Uruguay passed legislation allowing same-sex marriage in 2013.

Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Civil unions have been permitted in Uruguay since 2008, and in 2009 gay and lesbian couples were given adoption rights.

Source: BBC News


13. In 2013, New Zealand became the first country in the Asia-Pacific to legislate for same-sex marriage.

Hagen Hopkins/Getty ImagesPaul McCarthy and Trent Kandler walk down the aisle after being married at the Museum of New Zealand, Te Papa, on August 19, 2013 in Wellington, New Zealand.

The law won approval by a 77-44 margin in the country’s legislature, which included support from former Prime Minister John Key.

Source: SBS News


14. President Francois Hollande signed a measure legalizing marriage equality in France in 2013.

Antoine Antoniol/Getty ImagesPeople demonstrate for the legalization of gay marriage and parenting on December 16, 2012 in Paris, France.

Hollande’s signature had to wait until a court challenge brought by the conservative opposition party, the UMP, was resolved. France’s highest court, the Constitutional Council, ruled that the bill was constitutional.

Source: The Guardian


15. Brazil’s National Council of Justice ruled that same-sex couples should not be denied marriage licenses in 2013, allowing same-sex marriages to begin across the country.

Mario Tama/Getty ImagesDrag queens Sara and Nina perform during an LGBT protest held inside city council on May 16, 2017 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Prior to the law, only some of Brazil’s 27 jurisdictions had allowed same-sex marriage.

Source: The Australian


16. England and Wales became the first countries in the UK to pass marriage equality in 2014.

Rob Stothard/Getty ImagesGay couple Peter McGraith and David Cabreza married shortly after midnight at Islington Town Hall in one of the UK’s first same-sex weddings on March 29, 2014 in London, England.

Northern Ireland and Scotland are semi-autonomous and have separate legislative bodies to decide many domestic issues. In 2017, a judge dismissed two cases on same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland.

Source: BBC News


17. Scotland voted overwhelmingly in favour of of legalizing same-sex marriage later in 2014.

Mark Runnacles/Getty ImagesA couple are married shortly after midnight in one of the first same-sex and belief category weddings in Scotland on December 31, 2014 in Glasgow, Scotland

In addition to allowing same-sex couples to wed, the measure gave churches and other religious groups the option to decide whether or not they want to service same-sex marriages.

Source: BBC News


18. Luxembourg overwhelmingly approved legislation to allow gay and lesbian couples to wed and to adopt children that went into effect in 2015.

US Embassy Luxembourg/Creative CommonsLuxembourg Prime Minister Xavier Bettel (L) and his husband and First Gentleman Gauthier Destenay (R) celebrate with the American ambassador and his wife, July 3 2014.

The bill was spearheaded by the country’s Prime Minister, Xavier Bettel. Bettel married his long-time partner Gauthier Destenay a few months after the legislation passed.

Source: Reuters


19. Finland approved a marriage equality bill in 2014, but it only went into effect this year.

Markus Koljonen/Creative CommonsHelsinki Pride 2007 marches through the street of Aleksanterinkatu in Helsinki, Finland on June 30, 2007.

The bill started out as a public petition and was passed with 101-90 votes.

Source: Reuters


20. Ireland became the first country to legalise same-sex marriage through a popular vote in 2015.

Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty ImagesSupporters in favour of same-sex marriage celebrate and cheer as thousands gather in Dublin Castle square awaiting the referendum vote outcome on May 23, 2015 in Dublin, Ireland

62% of the referendum’s respondents voted “yes” to amend the Constitution of Ireland to recognise same-sex marriage. Thousands of Irish emigrants had travelled home to participate in the popular vote.

Source: BBC News


21. Greenland, the world’s biggest island, passed same-sex legislation in 2015.

Joe Raedle/Getty ImagesHomes are seen against the backdrop of mountains on July 28, 2013 in Nuuk, Greenland.

Although Greenland is an autonomous territory of Denmark, it was not subject to Denmark’s 2012 ruling on legalizing same-sex marriage.

Source: Copenhagen Post


22. The United States Supreme Court made marriage equality federal law in 2015.

Photo by Alex Wong/Getty ImagesSame-sex marriage supporters rejoice after the U.S Supreme Court handed down a ruling regarding same-sex marriage June 26, 2015 outside the Supreme Court in Washington, DC.

Same-sex marriage had been legal in 37 out of the 50 US states, plus the District of Columbia, prior to the 2015 ruling.

Source: CNN


23. Colombia became the fourth Latin American country to legalise same-sex marriage in 2016.

Joe Raedle/Getty ImagesAUGUST 30: Sara Fuentes, originally from Colombia holds a flag from her home country during a naturalization ceremony August 30, 2007 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Same-sex couples were already allowed to form civil partnerships before the ruling.

Source: BBC News


24. In 2017, Germany became the 15th European country to allow same-sex couples to wed.

Sean Gallup/Getty ImagesGerman Greens Party parliamentarian Volker Beck joins supporters of gay rights gathered outside the Chancellery to cut a cake in celebration following a vote at the nearby Bundestag which approved gay marriage in Germany on June 30, 2017 in Berlin, Germany.

Germany gave full marital rights to homosexual couples in a vote that Chancellor Angela Merkel vited against.

Source: New York Times


25. And earlier this year nearly all of Malta’s parliament voted in favour of legalizing same-sex marriage.

Sean Gallup/Getty ImagesA superyacht, the Indian Empress, owned by Vijay Mallya, stands in The Grand Harbour as seen from Valletta on March 29, 2017 in Vittoriosa, Malta.

Despite opposition from the Catholic Church on the small Mediterranean island, marriage equality was passed by a landslide 66-1 vote.

Source: The Independent


26. Australian lawmakers in December enacted the will of the majority of citizens who overwhelmingly voted in favour of same-sex marriage during a postal survey held weeks earlier.

Scott Barbour/Getty ImagesPeople in the crowd celebrate as the result is announced during the Official Melbourne Postal Survey Result Announcement at the State Library of Victoria on November 15, 2017 in Melbourne, Australia.

Same-sex couples were officially allowed to marry beginning January 9, more than a month after it was legalised in the country.

Before the final vote in Australia on December 7, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said it was a great day for Australia.

“What a day! What a day for love, for quality, for respect! Australia has done it. Every Australian had their say and they said it is fair, get on with it!” he said.

“We have voted today for equality, for love. It is time for more marriages, more commitment, more love, more respect, and we respect every Australian who has voted, those who voted yes, and those who voted no, this belongs to us all, this is Australia!”


27. Taiwan made history on Friday, becoming the first place in Asia to pass laws on marriage equality.

SAM YEH/AFP/Getty ImagesSupporters of same-sex marriage celebrate outside the parliament in Taipei on May 17, 2019.

Countries in Asia are known for their conservative views on same-sex marriage and LGBT rights.

But Taiwan, which considers itself an independant democracy that champions human rights issues, broke from other Asian nations and passed a bill in favour of marriage equality by an overhwelming margin.

The bill will allow full legal marriage rights for same-sex couples and also offers limited adoption rights. It now heads to President Tsai Ing-wen before it is officially passed into law by May 24.


28. Ecuador’s highest court approved same-sex marriage in a 5-4 ruling.

Ecuador has recognised same-sex partnerships since 2015, but the Constitutional Court officially approved same-sex marriages on June 12.

The court instructed the government to pass legislation that will cement equal rights for all citizens who wish to marry.

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