From Taiwan to Columbia: A look at marriage equality around the world

While many nations have legalised same-sex marriage, not all have extended this inclusivity to all corners of the LGBTQIA++ spectrum.
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As the five-judge Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court is all set to deliver its judgement on a batch of petitions seeking marriage equality in India, on Tuesday, October 17, we look at the countries where marriage is equal for all. It is important to note that the petition seeking marriage equality in India deals with the right to marriage for all, including same-sex couples, trans people and other queer persons. While many nations have legalised same-sex marriage, not all have extended this inclusivity to all corners of the LGBTQIA++ spectrum.

At present, marriage equality is recognised in 34 nations. These countries include Andorra, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Denmark, Ecuador, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Luxembourg, Malta, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, the United Kingdom, the United States of America, and Uruguay.

  1. The Netherlands: First recognised same-sex marriage in 2000.

  2. Belgium: Passed marriage equality law in 2003, allowed adoption for queer couples in 2006.

  3. Canada: Modified civil marriage definition for same-sex partners in 2005.

  4. Spain: Passed law granting identical marriage and adoption rights in 2005.

  5. South Africa: Legalised same-sex marriage in 2006 with broad support.

  6. Norway: Allowed pastors to wed same-sex couples in 2009, legalised same-sex marriage in 2008.

  7. Sweden: Passed same-sex marriage bill in October 2009 after a petition from the ruling church body.

  8. Argentina: Became the first Latin American nation to allow same-sex unions in 2010.

  9. Portugal: Approved same-sex unions in 2010, and allowed gay couples to adopt six years later.

  10. Iceland: Unanimously legalised same-sex marriage in 2010.

  11. Denmark: Recognised same-sex couples as domestic partners before legalising same-sex marriage in 2012.

  12. Uruguay: Legalised same-sex marriage in 2013.

  13. Brazil: Legalised same-sex marriage in 2013, resulting in over 3,700 marriages same year.

  14. New Zealand: Legalised same-sex marriage in 2013 with a 77-44 vote in favor.

  15. France: Witnessed its first same-sex wedding in 2013, supported widely by the public.

  16. Luxembourg: In 2014, the nation saw its first major revision to marriage laws since 1804.

  17. United States: Same-sex marriage became legal in 2015, marked by the trending hashtag #LoveWins on Twitter.

  18. Ireland: Became the first country to legalise same-sex marriage through a popular vote in 2015. 

  19. Finland: In 2015, legalised same-sex marriage after a citizen's initiative gathered 167,000 signatures.

  20. Colombia: Passed a law in 2016, allowing all people to start a family regardless of sexual orientation.

  21. Malta: Despite opposition from the Catholic Church, parliament passed a same-sex marriage bill in 2017 with strong support.

  22. Australia: Celebrated the new law legalising same-sex marriage in 2017.

  23. Germany: Received overwhelming public support and was approved by the federal parliament in a 393-226 vote in 2019.

  24. Austria: Legalised same-sex marriage on January 1, 2019, after allowing civil partnerships in 2010. The first legal same-sex marriage in Austria was between two women.

  25. Taiwan: Became the first Asian nation to permit same-sex marriage on May 17, 2019.

  26. Ecuador: On June 12, 2019, the nation's highest court approved same-sex marriage, making Ecuador the fifth country in Latin America to allow same-sex marriages.

  27. United Kingdom: Approved legislation in October 2019, legalising same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland. The law took effect on January 13, 2020, making same-sex marriages legal across the United Kingdom.

  28. Costa Rica: Recognised same-sex marriages on May 26, 2020, becoming the first country in Central America to do so after a landmark Supreme Court ruling.

  29. Switzerland: Passed legislation on December 16, 2020, extending marriage rights to same-sex couples.

  30. Chile: Approved the marriage equality bill in the Senate on December 7, 2021, and in the lower house on November 23, 2021. The bill was signed into law on December 9, 2021. Same-sex civil unions have been allowed since 2015.

  31. Slovenia: The Constitutional Court of Slovenia, on July 8, 2022, declared the prohibition of same-sex marriages unconstitutional. The court granted the Slovenian parliament a six-month window to enact corresponding legislation, which it successfully achieved on October 4. The court's decision took immediate effect.

  32. Andorra: In 2022, Andorra's parliament extended civil marriage rights to same-sex couples in the country with less than 80,000 people. This change came into effect in early 2023, allowing same-sex couples to marry instead of only having civil unions.

  33. Cuba: In September 2022, Cuba legalised same-sex marriage through a national referendum. Cubans voted in favour of a family code that provided increased protections for minorities.

  34. Estonia: In 2023, Estonia became the first ex-Soviet state to legalise same-sex marriage, with a 55-vote majority in its 101-seat parliament. This expanded on existing recognition of same-sex partnerships under the Family Law Act, 2016. Starting January 1, 2024, same-sex couples can marry and adopt children.

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