Numbers, Facts and Trends Shaping Your World

Same-Sex Marriage Around the World

Since the first same-sex marriages took place in the Netherlands in 2001, more than 30 other jurisdictions have enacted laws allowing gays and lesbians to marry, mostly in Europe and the Americas. This interactive table allows you to sort those places by name, region and the year legal same-sex marriage took effect. It also includes some key facts about the process in each jurisdiction.

CountryYearRegionNotes
Andorra 2023EuropeParliament in the small mountainous country between France and Spain voted to legalize same-sex marriage.
Argentina 2010Latin America-CaribbeanFirst country in Latin America to allow gay and lesbian couples to marry.
Australia 2017Asia-PacificVoters supported legalizing same-sex marriage by a 61.6% to 38.4% margin in a non-binding nationwide referendum.
Austria 2019EuropeA court ruling in 2017 eventually led to the change.
Belgium 2003EuropeSecond country in the world to legalize same-sex marriage, after its neighbor, the Netherlands.
Brazil 2013Latin America-CaribbeanAbout half of Brazil’s 27 jurisdictions had allowed same-sex marriage until a court ruling made it legal nationwide.
Canada 2005North AmericaSame-sex marriage was legal in a majority of Canada’s provinces before Parliament passed national legislation.
Chile 2022Latin America-CaribbeanSixth South American country to legalize same-sex marriage.
Colombia 2016Latin America-CaribbeanColombia’s Constitutional Court legalized same-sex marriage by a 6-3 vote.
Costa Rica 2020Latin America-CaribbeanFirst Central American country to legalize same-sex marriage.
Cuba 2022Latin America-CaribbeanChange allowing same-sex marriage was part of a broader referendum on family law that passed by a 66.9% to 33.1% vote.
Denmark 2012EuropeSame-sex marriage became legal through a separate process in Greenland, an autonomous territory of Denmark, in 2016.
Ecuador 2019Latin America-CaribbeanCourt ruling made Ecuador the fifth South American country to allow gays and lesbians to wed.
Finland 2017EuropeThe law, passed by Parliament in 2014, started out as a “citizens’ initiative” – a public petition with nearly 167,000 signatures. It came into effect in 2017.
France 2013EuropeThen-French President François Hollande signed the law after an unsuccessful court challenge.
Germany 2017EuropeLegislation passed after then-Chancellor Angela Merkel said members of her ruling Christian Democratic Union should vote their conscience even though the party formally opposed same-sex marriage.
Iceland 2010EuropeAfter the law took effect, the country’s prime minister at the time, Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir, wed her longtime partner, Jónína Leósdóttir, becoming one of the first people to marry under the statute.
Ireland 2015EuropeFirst country to legalize same-sex marriage through a popular referendum, with more than six-in-ten Irish voters (62%) in favor.
Luxembourg 2015EuropeThe bill was championed by the country’s prime minister, Xavier Bettel, who is openly gay.
Malta 2017EuropeParliament almost unanimously voted to legalize same-sex marriage.
Mexico 2022Latin America-CaribbeanSame-sex marriage eventually became legal nationally after the Supreme Court declared state bans unconstitutional in 2015.
Netherlands2001EuropeFirst country to legalize same-sex marriage after Parliament passed the law in December 2000.
New Zealand 2013Asia-PacificFirst country in the Asia-Pacific region to allow gays and lesbians to wed.
Norway 2009EuropeThe law replaced a 1993 statute permitting civil unions.
Portugal 2010EuropeMeasure passed by Parliament was approved by Portugal’s Constitutional Court.
Slovenia 2022EuropeFirst country in formerly communist Eastern Europe to legalize same-sex marriage.
South Africa 2006Sub-Saharan AfricaOnly African country where same-sex marriage is legal; several countries on the continent have passed laws that ban homosexuality in recent years.
Spain 2005EuropeBecame the third country globally to legalize same-sex marriage after a vote in its closely divided Parliament.
Sweden 2009EuropeGay and lesbian couples in Sweden previously had been allowed to register for civil unions since 1995.
Switzerland 2022EuropeNearly two-thirds of Swiss voters (64.1%) cast ballots in favor of legalizing same-sex marriage in a 2021 referendum.
Taiwan 2019Asia-PacificA court ruling prompted a change in the law that made Taiwan the first jurisdiction in Asia to permit gays and lesbians to wed.
United Kingdom 2014EuropeLegal same-sex marriage took effect in Northern Ireland in 2020, six years after the change in England and Wales. Separate legislation was enacted in Scotland in 2014.
United States 2015North AmericaThirty-six states and the District of Columbia had legalized same-sex marriage before the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the Constitution guarantees it throughout the country.
Uruguay 2013Latin America-CaribbeanSecond Latin American country to legalize same-sex marriage, following Argentina.

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