Different places around the world
A growing number of governments around the world are considering whether to grant legal recognition to same-sex marriages. So far, two dozen countries have enacted national laws allowing gays and lesbians to marry, mostly in Europe and the Americas. In Mexico, some jurisdictions allow same-sex couples to wed, while others do not.
Countries That Allow Gay Marriage
Countries Where Gay Marriage is Legal in Some Jurisdictions
Countries That Allow Gay Marriage
On June 30, 2017, Germany became the 15th European country to enact legislation allowing same-sex couples to wed. The 393-226 vote in the nation’s Bundestag (or Parliament) came just days after Chancellor Angela Merkel surprised many by saying that members of her ruling Christian Democratic Union should be able to vote their conscience on the issue even though the party formally opposes same-sex marriage.
United States (2015)
Eleven years after same-sex marriage was first made legal in Massachusetts, the U.S. Supreme Court that the Constitution guarantees it throughout the country. The 5-4 decision rests in part on the court’s interpretation of the 14th Amendment, and states that limiting marriage only to heterosexual couples violates the amendment’s guarantee of equal protection under the law.
Greenland, an autonomous territory of Denmark, was not subject to Denmark’s same-sex marriage law, which was enacted in 2012. However, legislators in Greenland passed a bill in May 2015 to legalize same-sex marriage on the world’s biggest island.
On April 28, 2016, Colombia became the fourth country in Catholic-majority South America to legalize same-sex marriage, following Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil. The country’s Constitutional Court, by a 6-3 vote, ruled that that “all people are free to choose independently to start a family in keeping with their sexual orientation … receiving equal treatment under the constitution and the law, ” according to the wire service Agence France-Presse.
On May 22, 2015, Catholic-majority Ireland became the first country to legalize same-sex marriage through a popular referendum. More than six-in-ten Irish voters (62%) voted “yes” to amend the Constitution of Ireland to say that “marriage may be contracted in accordance with law by two persons without distinction as to their sex.”
While some Catholic Church leaders opposed the change, Dublin Archbishop Diarmuid Martin wrote a commentary in The Irish Times newspaper before the referendum, saying that he would not tell people how to vote and that he had “no wish to stuff my religious views down other people’s throats.” Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny supported the “yes” campaign.
Same-sex marriage will become legal in Finland starting in 2017. The Finnish Parliament approved a bill legalizing same-sex unions in November 2014, and Finland’s president, Sauli Niinistö, signed the measure into law in February 2015. The bill started out as a “citizens’ initiative” – a public petition with a reported 167, 000 signatures.
Finland becomes the last of the five Nordic countries to legalize same-sex marriage, joining Denmark, Iceland, Norway and Sweden.
On June 18, Luxembourg’s parliament, the Chamber of Deputies, overwhelmingly approved legislation that will allow gay and lesbian couples to wed and to adopt children. The bill, which took effect in early 2015, was championed by the country’s prime minister, Xavier Bettel, who is openly gay.
The changes are part of a larger rewrite of the tiny country’s marriage laws – the first major overhaul since 1804. In addition to allowing same-sex couples to marry and adopt, the legislation sets the legal age of marriage at 18 and eliminates the existing requirement that couples who want to marry must first submit to a medical exam.