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Countries Where Gay Marriage Is Legal 2024

For many years, same-sex marriage has been a hot topic of endless debate. Supporters of same-sex marriage say that a relationship and subsequent marriage between two people of the same sex is natural and normal. These supporters believe that a person does not choose to be gay and is instead born this way. Supporters also say that same-sex couples are just as capable as heterosexual couples when it comes to getting married, living together, and raising children.

On the flip side, there are people that are against gay marriage. These people may have religious beliefs that tell them this is wrong. Others say that same-sex relationships and marriage is abnormal and can have negative effects on children that are raised in a same-sex household.

However, there are still nations around the world that outright ban gay marriage. Even if a wedding ceremony is performed, these couples are not recognized by the government as legally married. Not every country in the world is involved in the conversation surrounding gay marriage, but a large percentage of the world’s nations have either legalized same-sex marriage, permitted gay marriage in certain parts of the country, allows civil unions between individuals of the same sex, or actively restricts gay marriage.

Of these eighty-eight countries, the number of countries that have legalized gay marriage is a total of twenty-four nations.

In 2001, the Netherlands became the very first country to ever legalize gay marriage. That was only eighteen years ago, meaning that the legalization of gay marriage is an up-and-coming change in the world as of less than two decades ago. After the Netherlands started to allow same-sex couples to be recognized as legally married, many other countries around the world started to follow suit. Here are the nations that have already legalized gay marriage, followed by the respective years in which same-sex marriages became legal.

Most nations are very firm in their outlook regarding gay marriage. Since the topic is so controversial, people are very divided on their opinions on the matter. For the most part, countries are either for or against gay marriage. However, a couple of countries have not completely legalized gay marriage all throughout the nation, with same-sex couples only being able to get married in certain areas of said countries.

There are only two countries that have not fully legalized gay marriage but have allowed same-sex couples to be wed in certain regions within the country. The nations that permit gay marriage in certain places are…

There are twelve Mexican states that allow gay marriage to take place. Along with the Mexican city of Mexico City, the following cities have legalized gay marriage. They are listed in chronological order, followed by the year during which said countries legalized gay marriage.

  • Quintana Roo in 2012
  • Coahuila in 2014
  • Chihuahua in 2015
  • Nayarit in 2015
  • Jalisco in 2016
  • Campeche in 2016
  • Colima in 2016
  • Michoacan in 2016
  • Morelos in 2016
  • Chiapas in 2017
  • Puebla in 2017
  • Baja California in 2017
  • Nuevo León in 2019
  • Aguascalientes in 2019

The number of countries that do not recognize same-sex couples are married, but rather, as having civil unions and partnerships, amounts to eleven nations. These countries include…

The number of countries that have not legalized gay marriage outweighs the number of countries that do, which could take a turn in the opposite direction as nations progress over time. The following countries are ones to watch for marriage equality in 2021...

On a smaller scale, a handful of dependent territories have been outspoken about their perspectives on gay marriage. The territories of Bermuda, the Faroe Islands, Guam, and Puerto Rico have legalized gay marriage. Northern Ireland is another dependent territory with an opinion of the matter. This location does not dismiss the rights of same-sex couples entirely, but these couples are not recognized as legally married in Northern Island. Instead of marriage, Northern Island permits same-sex couples to register as domestic partners and legally recognized arrangements otherwise called civil unions.

Some countries are so adamant about not legalizing gay marriage that they criminalize homosexuality to the full extent of the law. For example, in Africa, the majority of the countries do not permit the expression of sexuality beyond heterosexuality. If you are a member of the LGBTQ+ community while residing in many African countries, you could face imprisonment up to a full life sentence.

In the most extreme situations, you might be facing the death penalty, simply for being homosexual. The same is true in many Asian countries and a few eastern European nations. Russia is an example of a nation that does not necessarily criminalize same-sex couples, but the government places serious restrictions on people who are gay, which is still a way of censoring relationships that are not heterosexual.

  • Data current as of June 2024.

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Legalization Year
Additional Details
In a December 2023 poll, 52% of Greek citizens supported legalization of same-sex marriages. The bil...
Legislation legalizing marriage between same-sex couples passed 55-34 in June 2023, and the law ente...
Legal status is unclear. Although legislation officially legalizing same-sex marriage had not yet be...
Parliament in the small mountainous country between France and Spain voted to legalize same-sex marr...
Same-sex marriage eventually became legal nationally after the Supreme Court declared state bans unc...
Sixth South American country to legalize same-sex marriage.
Change allowing same-sex marriage was part of a broader referendum on family law that passed by a 66...
Nearly two-thirds of Swiss voters (64.1%) cast ballots in favor of legalizing same-sex marriage in a...
First country in formerly communist Eastern Europe to legalize same-sex marriage.
Costa Rica2020
First Central American country to legalize same-sex marriage.
A court ruling prompted a change in the law that made Taiwan the first jurisdiction in Asia to permi...
Court ruling made Ecuador the fifth South American country to allow gays and lesbians to wed.
A court ruling in 2017 eventually led to the change.
Legislation passed after then-Chancellor Angela Merkel said members of her ruling Christian Democrat...
Voters supported legalizing same-sex marriage by a 61.6% to 38.4% margin in a non-binding nationwide...
The law, passed by Parliament in 2014, started out as a “citizens’ initiative” – a public petition w...
Parliament almost unanimously voted to legalize same-sex marriage.
Colombia’s Constitutional Court legalized same-sex marriage by a 6-3 vote.
Same-sex marriage has been legal in Greenland since 1 April 2016. Same-sex marriage legislation pass...
United States2015
Thirty-six states and the District of Columbia had legalized same-sex marriage before the U.S. Supre...
First country to legalize same-sex marriage through a popular referendum, with more than six-in-ten ...
The bill was championed by the country’s prime minister, Xavier Bettel, who is openly gay.
United Kingdom2014
Legal same-sex marriage took effect in Northern Ireland in 2020, six years after the change in Engla...
About half of Brazil’s 27 jurisdictions had allowed same-sex marriage until a court ruling made it l...
Then-French President François Hollande signed the law after an unsuccessful court challenge.
New Zealand2013
First country in the Asia-Pacific region to allow gays and lesbians to wed.
Second Latin American country to legalize same-sex marriage, following Argentina.
Same-sex marriage became legal through a separate process in Greenland, an autonomous territory of D...
First country in Latin America to allow gay and lesbian couples to marry.
Measure passed by Parliament was approved by Portugal’s Constitutional Court.
After the law took effect, the country’s prime minister at the time, Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir, wed her...
Gay and lesbian couples in Sweden previously had been allowed to register for civil unions since 199...
The law replaced a 1993 statute permitting civil unions.
South Africa2006
Only African country where same-sex marriage is legal; several countries on the continent have passe...
Became the third country globally to legalize same-sex marriage after a vote in its closely divided ...
Same-sex marriage was legal in a majority of Canada’s provinces before Parliament passed national le...
Second country in the world to legalize same-sex marriage, after its neighbor, the Netherlands.
First country to legalize same-sex marriage after Parliament passed the law in December 2000.
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How many countries have legalized gay marriage?

The countries of Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Luxembourg, Malta, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, the United States of America, and Uruguay have legalized gay marriage.

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