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Same-sex marriage (also known as gay marriage) is the marriage of a same-sex couple, entered into in a civil or religious ceremony. The term marriage equality refers to a political status in which the marriages of same-sex couples and the marriages of opposite-sex couples are recognized as equal by the law.
As of 2017, same-sex marriage is recognized by law (nationwide or in some parts) in the following countries: Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Luxembourg, Malta, Mexico,[nb 1] the Netherlands,[nb 2] New Zealand,[nb 3] Norway, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom,[nb 4] the United States,[nb 5] and Uruguay. Additionally, Armenia, Estonia, and Israel recognize the marriages of same-sex couples validly entered into in other countries. Same-sex marriage is also due to soon become recognized by law in Taiwan and Austria, after constitutional court rulings on the subject in May and December 2017, respectively.[nb 6] Furthermore, after a motion lodged by Costa Rica, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights issued a ruling in favor of same-sex marriage on 9 January 2018, which is expected to facilitate recognition in several countries in the Americas.[nb 7]
The introduction of same-sex marriage has varied by jurisdiction, being variously accomplished through legislative change to marriage law, a court ruling based on constitutional guarantees of equality, or by direct popular vote (via ballot initiative or referendum). The recognition of same-sex marriage is considered to be a human rights, civil rights, political, social, and religious issue. Various faith communities around the world support allowing same-sex couples to marry, while many religious groups oppose same-sex marriage. Polls consistently show continually rising support for the recognition of same-sex marriage in all developed democracies and in some developing democracies.
Scientific studies show that the financial, psychological, and physical well-being of gay people are enhanced by marriage, and that the children of same-sex parents benefit from being raised by married same-sex couples within a legally recognized union supported by society's institutions. The American Anthropological Association has stated that excluding homosexuals from marriage stigmatizes and invites public discrimination against them, and has also stated that the social science research rejects the notion that either civilization or viable social orders depend upon restricting marriage to heterosexuals. Same-sex marriage can provide those in same-sex relationships who pay their taxes with government services and make financial demands on them comparable to that afforded to and required of those in opposite-sex marriages, and also gives them legal protections such as inheritance and hospital visitation rights.
Opposition to same-sex marriage is based on the beliefs that homosexuality is unnatural and abnormal, that the recognition of same-sex unions will promote homosexuality in society, and that children are better off when raised by opposite-sex couples, these claims are countered by science which shows that homosexuality is a natural and normal human sexuality, that sexual orientation cannot be chosen or influenced, and that the children of same-sex couples fare just as well or even better than the children of opposite-sex couples.
A study of nationwide data from across the United States from January 1999 to December 2015, conducted by the American Medical Association, revealed that the establishment of same-sex marriage is associated with a significant reduction in the rate of attempted suicide among children, with the effect being concentrated among children of a minority sexual orientation.
- 1 Terminology
- 2 Studies
- 3 History
- 4 Same-sex marriage around the world
- 4.1 Legal recognition
- 4.1.1 Argentina
- 4.1.2 Australia
- 4.1.3 Austria
- 4.1.4 Belgium
- 4.1.5 Brazil
- 4.1.6 Canada
- 4.1.7 Colombia
- 4.1.8 Costa Rica
- 4.1.9 Denmark
- 4.1.10 Finland
- 4.1.11 France
- 4.1.12 Germany
- 4.1.13 Iceland
- 4.1.14 Ireland
- 4.1.15 Luxembourg
- 4.1.16 Malta
- 4.1.17 Mexico
- 4.1.18 Netherlands
- 4.1.19 New Zealand
- 4.1.20 Norway
- 4.1.21 Panama
- 4.1.22 Portugal
- 4.1.23 South Africa
- 4.1.24 Spain
- 4.1.25 Sweden
- 4.1.26 United Kingdom
- 4.1.27 United States
- 4.1.28 Uruguay
- 4.2 National debates
- 4.2.1 Armenia
- 4.2.2 Bulgaria
- 4.2.3 Chile
- 4.2.4 China
- 4.2.5 Czech Republic
- 4.2.6 Ecuador
- 4.2.7 El Salvador
- 4.2.8 Estonia
- 4.2.9 Georgia
- 4.2.10 India
- 4.2.11 Israel
- 4.2.12 Italy
- 4.2.13 Japan
- 4.2.14 Latvia
- 4.2.15 Nepal
- 4.2.16 Peru
- 4.2.17 Philippines
- 4.2.18 Romania
- 4.2.19 Slovenia
- 4.2.20 South Korea
- 4.2.21 Switzerland
- 4.2.22 Taiwan
- 4.2.23 Venezuela
- 4.2.24 Vietnam
- 4.3 International organizations
- 4.1 Legal recognition
- 5 Other arrangements
- 6 Issues
- 7 Opposition
- 8 See also
- 9 Notes
- 10 References
- 11 Bibliography
- 12 External links
Some proponents of legal recognition of same-sex marriage, such as Freedom to Marry and Canadians for Equal Marriage, use the terms marriage equality and equal marriage to indicate that they seek the recognition of same-sex marriage on equal ground with opposite-sex marriage as opposed to special rights.
Associated Press style recommends the usages marriage for gays and lesbians or in space-limited headlines gay marriage with no hyphen and no scare quotes. The Associated Press warns that the construct gay marriage can imply that the marriages of same-sex couples are somehow different from the marriages of opposite-sex couples.
Use of the term marriage
Anthropologists have struggled to determine a definition of marriage that absorbs commonalities of the social construct across cultures around the world. Many proposed definitions have been criticized for failing to recognize the existence of same-sex marriage in some cultures, including in more than 30 African cultures, such as the Kikuyu and Nuer.
With several countries revising their marriage laws to recognize same-sex couples in the 21st century, all major English dictionaries have revised their definition of the word marriage to either drop gender specifications or supplement them with secondary definitions to include gender-neutral language or explicit recognition of same-sex unions, the Oxford English Dictionary has recognized same-sex marriage since 2000.
Opponents of same-sex marriage, who want marriage to be restricted to heterosexuals, such as The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the Catholic Church, and the Southern Baptist Convention, use the term traditional marriage to mean opposite-sex marriage.
The results of more than a century of anthropological research on households, kinship relationships, and families, across cultures and through time, provide no support whatsoever for the view that either civilization or viable social orders depend upon marriage as an exclusively heterosexual institution. Rather, anthropological research supports the conclusion that a vast array of family types, including families built upon same-sex partnerships, can contribute to stable and humane societies.
Research findings from 1998–2015 from the University of Virginia, Michigan State University, Florida State University, the University of Amsterdam, the New York State Psychiatric Institute, Stanford University, the University of California-San Francisco, the University of California-Los Angeles, Tufts University, Boston Medical Center, the Committee on Psychosocial Aspects of Child and Family Health and independent researchers also support the findings of this study.
The establishment of same-sex marriage is associated with a significant reduction in the rate of attempted suicide among children, concentrated among children of a minority sexual orientation. A study of nationwide data from across the United States from January 1999 to December 2015, conducted by the American Medical Association, revealed that the rate of attempted suicide among all schoolchildren in grades 9 to 12 declined by 7% and the rate of attempted suicide among schoolchildren of a minority sexual orientation in grades 9 to 12 declined by 14% in states which established same-sex marriage, resulting in approximately 134,000 fewer children attempting suicide each year in the United States. The researchers took advantage of the gradual manner in which same-sex marriage was established in the United States (expanding from 1 state in 2004 to all 50 states in 2015) to compare the rate of attempted suicide among children in each state over the time period studied. Once same-sex marriage was established in a particular state, the reduction in the rate of attempted suicide among children in that state became permanent. No reduction in the rate of attempted suicide among children occurred in a particular state until that state recognized same-sex marriage, the lead researcher of the study observed that "laws that have the greatest impact on gay adults may make gay kids feel more hopeful for the future".
In 2010, a Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health study examining the effects of institutional discrimination on the psychiatric health of lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) individuals found an increase in psychiatric disorders, including a more than doubling of anxiety disorders, among the LGB population living in states that instituted bans on same-sex marriage. According to the author, the study highlighted the importance of abolishing institutional forms of discrimination, including those leading to disparities in the mental health and well-being of LGB individuals. Institutional discrimination is characterized by societal-level conditions that limit the opportunities and access to resources by socially disadvantaged groups.
Gay activist Jonathan Rauch has argued that marriage is good for all men, whether homosexual or heterosexual, because engaging in its social roles reduces men's aggression and promiscuity, the data of current psychological and other social science studies on same-sex marriage in comparison to mixed-sex marriage indicate that same-sex and mixed-sex relationships do not differ in their essential psychosocial dimensions; that a parent's sexual orientation is unrelated to their ability to provide a healthy and nurturing family environment; and that marriage bestows substantial psychological, social, and health benefits. Same-sex parents and carers and their children are likely to benefit in numerous ways from legal recognition of their families, and providing such recognition through marriage will bestow greater benefit than civil unions or domestic partnerships.
The American Psychological Association stated in 2004: "Denial of access to marriage to same-sex couples may especially harm people who also experience discrimination based on age, race, ethnicity, disability, gender and gender identity, religion, socioeconomic status and so on." It has also averred that same-sex couples who may only enter into a civil union, as opposed to a marriage, "are denied equal access to all the benefits, rights, and privileges provided by federal law to those of married couples," which has adverse effects on the well-being of same-sex partners.
In 2009, a pair of economists at Emory University tied the passage of state bans on same-sex marriage in the United States to an increase in the rates of HIV infection, the study linked the passage of a same-sex marriage ban in a state to an increase in the annual HIV rate within that state of roughly 4 cases per 100,000 population.
Professional organizations of psychologists have concluded that children stand to benefit from the well-being that results when their parents' relationship is recognized and supported by society's institutions, e.g. civil marriage. For example, the Canadian Psychological Association stated in 2006 that "parents' financial, psychological and physical well-being is enhanced by marriage and that children benefit from being raised by two parents within a legally-recognized union." The CPA stated in 2003 the stressors encountered by gay and lesbian parents and their children are more likely the result of the way society treats them than because of any deficiencies in fitness to parent.
There is ample evidence to show that children raised by same-gender parents fare as well as those raised by heterosexual parents. More than 25 years of research have documented that there is no relationship between parents' sexual orientation and any measure of a child's emotional, psychosocial, and behavioral adjustment, these data have demonstrated no risk to children as a result of growing up in a family with 1 or more gay parents. Conscientious and nurturing adults, whether they are men or women, heterosexual or homosexual, can be excellent parents, the rights, benefits, and protections of civil marriage can further strengthen these families.
Numerous polls and studies on the issue have been conducted, including those that were completed throughout the first decade of the 21st century. A consistent trend of increasing support for same-sex marriage has been revealed across the world, often driven by a significant generational gap. Much of the research that was conducted in developed countries in the first decade of the 21st century shows a majority of people in support of same-sex marriage. Support for legal same-sex marriage has increased across every age group, political ideology, religion, gender, race and region of various developed countries in the world.
Recent polling in the United States has shown a further increase in public support for same-sex marriage. When adults were asked in 2005 if they thought "marriages between homosexuals should or should not be recognized by the law as valid, with the same rights as traditional marriages", 28 percent replied in the affirmative, while 68 percent replied in the negative (the remaining 4 percent stated that they were unsure). When adults were asked in March 2013 if they supported or opposed same-sex marriage, 50 percent said they supported same-sex marriage, while 41 percent were opposed, and the remaining 9 percent stated that they were unsure. Support for same-sex marriage in the United States rose to 64% in 2017, with 34% opposed and 2% remaining neutral. Various detailed polls and studies on same-sex marriage that were conducted in several countries show that support for same-sex marriage generally increases with higher levels of education and is stronger among younger generations.
|Armenia||Pew Research Center||2015||3%||96%||1%|||
|Belarus||Pew Research Center||2015||16%||81%||3%|||
|Bosnia and Herzegovina||Pew Research Center||2015–2016||13%||84%||4%|||
|Brazil||Pew Research Center||2014||45%||48%||7%|||
|Bolivia||Pew Research Center||2014||22%||67%||11%|||
|Bulgaria||Pew Research Center||2015||18%||79%||3%|||
|Croatia||Pew Research Center||2016||31%||64%||5%|||
|Dominican Republic||Pew Research Center||2014||25%||72%||3%|||
|Ecuador||Pew Research Center||2014||16%||74%||10%|||
|El Salvador||Pew Research Center||2014||11%||81%||8%|||
|Estonia||Estonian Human Rights Center||2017||39%||52%||9%|||
|Georgia||Pew Research Center||2016||3%||95%||2%|||
|Germany||Federal Anti-Discrimination Agency||2017||83%||17%||-|||
|Guatemala||Pew Research Center||2014||12%||82%||6%|||
|Hungary||Pew Research Center||2015–2016||27%||64%||9%|||
|Israel||Rafi Smith Institute||2017||79%||-||-|||
|Italy||Demos & Pi||2016||56%||40%||4%|||
|Kazakhstan||Pew Research Center||2016||7%||89%||4%|||
|Latvia||Pew Research Center||2016||16%||77%||7%|||
|Lithuania||Pew Research Center||2015–2016||12%||85%||4%|||
|Malta||Business Leaders Malta||2016||61%||25%||14%|||
|Mexico||Gabinete de Comunicación Estratégica||2016||69%||25%||6%|||
|Moldova||Pew Research Center||2015||5%||92%||3%|||
|Nicaragua||Pew Research Center||2014||16%||77%||7%|||
|Panama||Pew Research Center||2014||23%||72%||5%|||
|Paraguay||Pew Research Center||2014||15%||80%||5%|||
|Romania||Pew Research Center||2015||26%||74%||1%|||
|Russia||Pew Research Center||2016||5%||90%||5%|||
|Serbia||Pew Research Center||2016||12%||83%||5%|||
|South Korea||Gallup Korea||2017||41%||52%||6.1%|||
|Taiwan||Taiwan Social Change Survey||2015||54%||37%||9%|||
|Ukraine||Pew Research Center||2016||9%||85%||6%|||
|United Kingdom||Ipsos||2018||73%||[nb 4]21%||6%|||
|Uruguay||Baròmetro de las Américas por LAPOP||2014||70.6%||-||-|||
|Venezuela||Pew Research Center||2014||28%||61%||11%|||
A reference to same-sex marriage (by the Egyptians and Canaanites) exists in the Talmud, the Old Testament prohibited homosexual relations (Lev. 18:22, 20:13), and the Jewish sages provide the reason for this as being that the Hebrews were warned not to "follow the acts of the land of Egypt or the acts of the land of Canaan." The sages explicitly state: "what did [the Egyptians and Canaanites] do? A man would marry a man and a woman [marry] a woman."
What is arguably the first historical mention of the performance of same-sex marriages occurred during the early Roman Empire according to controversial historian John Boswell. These were usually reported in a critical or satirical manner.
Child emperor Elagabalus referred to his chariot driver, a blond slave from Caria named Hierocles, as his husband. He also married an athlete named Zoticus in a lavish public ceremony in Rome amidst the rejoicings of the citizens.
The first Roman emperor to have married a man was Nero, who is reported to have married two other males on different occasions, the first was with one of Nero's own freedmen, Pythagoras, with whom Nero took the role of the bride. Later, as a groom, Nero married Sporus, a young boy, to replace the adolescent female concubine he had killed and married him in a very public ceremony with all the solemnities of matrimony, after which Sporus was forced to pretend to be the female concubine that Nero had killed and act as though they were really married. A friend gave the "bride" away as required by law, the marriage was celebrated in both Greece and Rome in extravagant public ceremonies.
It should be noted, however, that conubium existed only between a civis Romanus and a civis Romana (that is, between a male Roman citizen and a female Roman citizen), so that a marriage between two Roman males (or with a slave) would have no legal standing in Roman law (apart, presumably, from the arbitrary will of the emperor in the two aforementioned cases). Furthermore, according to Susan Treggiari, "matrimonium was then an institution involving a mother, mater, the idea implicit in the word is that a man took a woman in marriage, in matrimonium ducere, so that he might have children by her."
Writing in Harvard Magazine in 2013, legal historian Michael Klarman wrote that while there was a growth of gay rights activism in the 1970s United States, "Marriage equality was not then a priority." He argued that many gay people were not initially interested in marriage, deeming it to be a traditionalist institution, and that the search for legal recognition of same-sex relationships began in the late 1980s. Others, such as Faramerz Dabhoiwala writing for The Guardian, say that the modern movement began in the 1990s.
Denmark was the first country to recognize a legal relationship for same-sex couples, establishing "registered partnerships" in 1989, this gave those in same-sex relationships "most rights of married heterosexuals, but not the right to adopt or obtain joint custody of a child". In 2001, the Netherlands[nb 2] became the first country to permit same-sex marriages, since then same-sex marriages have been permitted and mutually recognized by Belgium (2003), Spain (2005), Canada (2005), South Africa (2006), Norway (2009), Sweden (2009), Portugal (2010), Iceland (2010), Argentina (2010), Denmark (2012), Brazil (2013), France (2013), Uruguay (2013), New Zealand[nb 3] (2013), Luxembourg (2015), the United States[nb 5] (2015), Ireland (2015), Colombia (2016), Finland (2017), Malta (2017), Germany (2017) and Australia (2017). In Mexico, same-sex marriages are performed in a number of states and recognised in all thirty-one states; in Nepal and Taiwan, their recognition has been judicially mandated but not yet legislated. Furthermore, most jurisdictions of the United Kingdom[nb 4] have also legalised same-sex marriage, with the first being England and Wales in March 2014, followed by Scotland in December of the same year. Same-sex marriage is, however, not legal in Northern Ireland.
In Taiwan, on 24 May 2017, the Constitutional Court ruled that same-sex couples have the right to marry under the Taiwanese Constitution and that the Legislative Yuan has two years to amend the marriage laws to align with the Constitution. If this is not done, same-sex couples may have their unions registered as marriages and be treated as such by law.
In December 2017, the Constitutional Court of Austria ruled in a discrimination case that same-sex marriage will become legal in that nation on 1 January 2019 if Parliament does not legalize it before that date.
European Court of Human Rights
In 2010, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruled in Schalk and Kopf v Austria, a case involving an Austrian same-sex couple who were denied the right to marry, the court found, by a vote of 4 to 3, that their human rights had not been violated.
British Judge Sir Nicolas Bratza, then head of the European Court of Human Rights, delivered a speech in 2012 that signaled the court was ready to declare same-sex marriage a "human right", as soon as enough countries fell into line.
Article 12 of the European Convention on Human Rights states that: "Men and women of marriageable age have the right to marry and to found a family, according to the national laws governing the exercise of this right", not limiting marriage to those in a heterosexual relationship. However, the ECHR stated in Schalk and Kopf v Austria that this provision was intended to limit marriage to heterosexual relationships, as it used the term "men and women" instead of "everyone".
On 12 March 2015, the European Parliament passed a non-binding resolution encouraging EU institutions and member states to "[reflect] on the recognition of same-sex marriage or same-sex civil union as a political, social and human and civil rights issue."
Inter-American Court of Human Rights
After a motion lodged by Costa Rica, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights issued a landmark advisory ruling in favour of same-sex marriage on 9 January 2018, which is expected to facilitate legalisation in several countries in the Americas.[nb 7]
The Court said that governments "must recognise and guarantee all the rights that are derived from a family bond between people of the same sex", they also said that it was inadmissible and discriminatory for a separate legal provision to be established (such as civil unions) instead of same-sex marriages. The Court demanded that governments "guarantee access to all existing forms of domestic legal systems, including the right to marriage, in order to ensure the protection of all the rights of families formed by same-sex couples without discrimination". Recognising the difficulty in passing such laws in countries where there is strong opposition to same-sex marriage, it recommended that governments pass temporary decrees until new legislation is brought in.
The Court issued its ruling in response to a motion brought by Costa Rica in 2016, the Costa Rican Government asked the Court to give its opinion on whether it had an obligation to extend property rights to same-sex couples, and the Court ruled that it did. The Costa Rican Government also wanted to know whether it should allow transgender people to change their name and gender on their identity documents. Again, the Court ruled that it must.
Following the ruling, LGBT advocacy groups and legal experts in numerous countries in the Americas began urging their respective governments and/or courts to implement the decision, these countries include Chile, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Paraguay and Peru.
The governments of Costa Rica and Panama have announced that they will fully implement the IACHR ruling. Additionally, on 11 January, the president of the Supreme Court of Peru and chairman of the country's judiciary, Duberlí Rodríguez, stated that Peru should abide by the decision, on 29 January 2018, Housing Minister Carlos Bruce estimated that same-sex marriage will be allowed in Peru within two years, and several former Supreme Court judges and lawmakers, notably Indira Huilca, stated that same-sex marriage will soon be legal in Peru, no matter what. The Peruvian Government, however, has yet to issue a formal decision on the matter.
Same-sex marriage around the world
Same-sex marriage has been legalized (nationwide or in some parts) in Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Luxembourg, Malta, Mexico,[nb 1] the Netherlands,[nb 2] New Zealand,[nb 3] Norway, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom,[nb 4] the United States,[nb 5] and Uruguay.
The status of same-sex marriage is a complicated matter in a number of other nations; in Mexico, marriages are recognized by all sub-national jurisdictions and by the federal government. On 3 June 2015, Mexico's Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation released a "jurisprudential thesis" declaring the current purpose of marriage, which is procreation, as unconstitutional and discriminatory towards same-sex relationships. Courts nationwide must now authorize marriages between people of the same sex through injunctions, a process slower and more expensive than opposite-sex marriage. Israel does not recognize same-sex marriages performed in its territory, but same-sex marriages performed in foreign jurisdictions are recorded strictly "for statistical purposes", thereby avoiding official recognition of same-sex marriages by the state. In Armenia and Estonia, same-sex marriages performed abroad are recognised.
On 15 July 2010, the Argentine Senate approved a bill extending marriage rights to same-sex couples, it was supported by the Government of President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner and opposed by the Catholic Church. Polls showed that nearly 70% of Argentines supported giving gay people the same marital rights as heterosexuals, the law came into effect on 22 July 2010 upon promulgation by the Argentine President.
Australia became the second nation in Oceania to legalise same-sex marriage when the Australian Parliament passed a bill on 7 December 2017, the bill received royal assent on 8 December, and took effect on 9 December 2017. The law removed the ban on same-sex marriage which previously existed and followed a voluntary postal survey held from 12 September to 7 November 2017, which returned a 61.6% "Yes" vote in favour of same-sex marriage.
Since 1 January 2010, same-sex couples have been allowed to enter registered partnerships (Eingetragene Partnerschaft).
On 20 November 2013, the Greens introduced a bill in the Austrian Parliament that would legalise same-sex marriage, it was sent to the Judiciary Committee on 17 December 2013. The bill was supposed to be debated in Autumn 2014, but was delayed by the ruling coalition.
In December 2015, the Vienna Administrative Court dismissed a case challenging the same-sex marriage ban, the plaintiffs appealed to the Constitutional Court. On 12 October 2017, the Constitutional Court agreed to consider one of the cases challenging the law barring same-sex marriage. On 5 December 2017, the Court struck down the ban on same-sex marriage as unconstitutional. Thus, same-sex couples will be allowed to marry from 1 January 2019, the Court also decided that civil unions will be open for both same-sex and different-sex couples from that date onwards. The Austrian Parliament can, however, choose to pass a bill legalising same-sex marriage before that date.
Belgium became the second country in the world to legally recognize same-sex marriages when a bill passed by the Belgian Federal Parliament took effect on 1 June 2003. Originally, Belgium allowed the marriages of foreign same-sex couples only if their country of origin also allowed these unions, however legislation enacted in October 2004 permits any couple to marry if at least one of the spouses has lived in the country for a minimum of three months. A 2006 statute legalized adoption by same-sex spouses.
Brazil's Supreme Court ruled in May 2011 that same-sex couples are legally entitled to legal recognition of cohabitation (known as união estável, one of the two possible family entities in Brazilian legislation. It included almost all of the rights available to married couples in Brazil.
Between mid-2011 and May 2013, same-sex couples had their cohabitation issues converted into marriages in several Brazil states with the approval of a state judge. All legal Brazilian marriages were always recognized all over Brazil.
In December 2012, the state of São Paulo likewise had same-sex marriage legalized by court order. Same-sex marriages also became equalized in relation to opposite-sex ones between January 2012 and April 2013 by court order in Alagoas, Ceará, Espírito Santo, the Federal District, Mato Grosso do Sul, Paraíba, Paraná, Piauí, Rondônia, Santa Catarina and Sergipe, and in Santa Rita do Sapucaí, a municipality in Minas Gerais; in Rio de Janeiro, the State Court facilitated its realization by district judges in agreement with the equalization (instead of ordering notaries to accept same-sex marriages in demand as all others).
On 14 May 2013, the Justice's National Council of Brazil issued a ruling requiring all civil registers of the country to perform same-sex marriages by a 14–1 vote, thus legalizing same-sex marriage in the entire country. The resolution came into effect on 16 May 2013.
In March 2013, polls suggested that 47% of Brazilians supported marriage equalization and 57% supported adoption equalization for same-sex couples.
When the distinction between same-sex unions that are not termed marriages in relation to same-sex marriage is made, the difference in the numbers of approval and disapproval is still insignificant, below 1%; the most frequent reason for disapproval is a supposed 'unnaturalness' of same-sex relationships, followed by religious beliefs.
Legal recognition of same-sex marriage in Canada followed a series of constitutional challenges based on the equality provisions of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. In the first such case, Halpern v. Canada (Attorney General), same-sex marriage ceremonies performed in Ontario on 14 January 2001 were subsequently validated when the common law, mixed-sex definition of marriage was held to be unconstitutional. Similar rulings had legalized same-sex marriage in eight provinces and one territory when the 2005 Civil Marriage Act defined marriage throughout Canada as "the lawful union of two persons to the exclusion of all others."
In February 2007, a series of rulings by the Constitutional Court meant that same-sex couples could apply for all the rights that heterosexual couples have in de facto unions (uniones de hecho).
On 26 July 2011, the Constitutional Court of Colombia ordered the Congress to pass the legislation giving same-sex couples similar rights to marriage by 20 June 2013. If such a law were not passed by then, same-sex couples would be granted these rights automatically.
In October 2012, Senator Armando Benedetti introduced a bill legalizing same-sex marriage, it initially only allowed for civil unions, but he amended the text. The Senate's First Committee approved the bill on 4 December 2012, on 24 April 2013, the bill was defeated in the full Senate on a 51–17 vote.
On 24 July 2013, a civil court judge in Bogotá declared a same-sex couple legally married, after a ruling on 11 July 2013 accepting the petition, this was the first same-sex couple married in Colombia.
In September 2013, two civil court judges married two same-sex couples, the first marriage was challenged by a conservative group, and it was initially annulled. Nevertheless, in October, a High Court (Tribunal Supremo de Bogotá) maintained the validity of that marriage.
On 28 April 2016, the Constitutional Court rules that same-sex couples are allowed to enter into civil marriages in the country and that judges and notaries are barred from refusing to perform same-sex weddings.
On 19 March 2015, a bill to legalize same-sex marriage was introduced to the Legislative Assembly by Deputy Ligia Elena Fallas Rodríguez from the Broad Front, on 10 December 2015, the organization Front for Equal Rights (Frente Por los Derechos Igualitarios) and a group of deputies presented another bill.
On 10 February 2016, the Constitutional Court of Costa Rica announced it would hear a case seeking to legalize same-sex marriage in Costa Rica and declare the country's same-sex marriage ban unconstitutional.
In January 2018, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACHR) ruled that the American Convention on Human Rights mandates and requires the recognition of same-sex marriage. The ruling is fully binding on Costa Rica, who within hours agreed to adhere to it and fully implement it. Costa Rican Vice President Ana Helena Chacón Echeverría announced that the Government would implement the ruling "in its totality". Costa Rica's Supreme Electoral Court (the institution in charge of civil registration, including the issuance of marriage certificates) announced that it will obey the ruling of the IACHR and will adapt the necessary by-laws once the Executive Branch notifies the ruling. The official notification was done on 12 January 2018, on 15 January, a same-sex couple applied for a marriage certificate. Their marriage was set to be performed on 20 January, and would have been the first same-sex marriage in Costa Rica, Shortly before the marriage date, however, the Superior Council of Notaries stated that notaries cannot perform same-sex marriages until legislative change or a Supreme Court decision, putting them at odds with the Costa Rican Government and the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, which stated in its ruling that legislative change is unnecessary and that governments may simply issue an executive decree legalising same-sex marriage.
In the 2018 Costa Rican general election, the IACHR ruling on same-sex marriage became a prominent issue. Carlos Alvarado, who supports gay rights and favors the implementation of the ruling, won the election with 60.7% of the vote, defeating Fabricio Alvarado, a vocal opponent of gay rights who was against the implementation of ruling.
On 7 June 2012, the Folketing (Danish Parliament) approved new laws regarding same-sex civil and religious marriage, these laws permit same-sex couples to get married in the Church of Denmark. The bills received royal assent on 12 June and took effect on 15 June 2012. Denmark was previously the first country in the world to legally recognize same-sex couples through registered partnerships in 1989.
On 26 May 2015, Greenland, one of Denmark's two other constituent countries in the Realm of Denmark, unanimously passed a law legalising same-sex marriage, the first same-sex couple to marry in Greenland married on 1 April 2016, the day the law went into effect.
On 17 November 2015, in the Faroe Islands (the realm's other constituent country), a same-sex marriage bill entered Parliament (Løgting), the bill passed its second reading on 26 April and was approved at its third reading on 29 April 2016 by 19 votes to 14. The law required ratification in the Danish Parliament, which provided it on 25 April 2017, the Faroese law allows civil marriages for same-sex couples and exempts the Church of the Faroe Islands from being required to officiate same-sex weddings. The law took effect on 1 July 2017.
In 2010, Minister of Justice Tuija Brax said her Ministry was preparing to amend the Marriage Act to allow same-sex marriage by 2012. On 27 February 2013, the bill was rejected by the Legal Affairs Committee of the Finnish Parliament on a vote of 9–8. A citizens' initiative was launched to put the issue before the Parliament of Finland, the campaign collected 166,000 signatures and the initiative was presented to the Parliament in December 2013. After being rejected by the Legal Affairs Committee twice, it faced the first vote in full session on 28 November 2014, which passed the bill 105–92, the bill passed the second and final vote by 101–90 on 12 December 2014, and was signed by the President on 20 February 2015.
The French Government introduced a bill to legalize same-sex marriage, Bill 344, in the National Assembly on 17 November 2012. Article 1 of the bill defining marriage as an agreement between two people was passed on 2 February 2013 in its first reading by a 249–97 vote, on 12 February 2013, the National Assembly approved the entire bill in a 329–229 vote.
On 12 April 2013, the upper house of the French Parliament voted to legalise same-sex marriage, on 23 April 2013, the law was approved by the National Assembly in a 331–225 vote. Law No.2013-404 grants same-sex couples living in France, including foreigners provided at least one of the partners has their domicile or residence in France, the legal right to get married. The law also allows the recognition in France of same-sex couples' marriages that occurred abroad before the bill's enactment.
The main right-wing opposition party UMP challenged the law in the Constitutional Council, which had one month to rule on whether the law conformed to the Constitution, the Constitutional Council had previously ruled that the issue of same-sex marriage was one for the Parliament to decide and there was only little hope for UMP to overturn the Parliament's vote. On 17 May 2013, the Constitutional Council declared the bill legal in its entire redaction. President François Hollande signed it into law on 18 May 2013.
Prior to the legalisation of same-sex marriage, Germany was one of the first countries to legislate registered partnerships (Eingetragene Lebenspartnerschaft) for same-sex couples, which provided most of the rights of marriage. The law came into effect on 1 August 2001, and the act was progressively amended on subsequent occasions to reflect court rulings expanding the rights of registered partners.
Same-sex marriage has been legal in Germany since 1 October 2017. A bill recognising marriages and adoption rights for same-sex couples passed the Bundestag on 30 June 2017 after Chancellor Angela Merkel stated that she would allow her CDU/CSU parliamentarians a conscience vote on such legislation, shortly after it was made a requirement for any future coalition by the SPD, the Greens and FDP. The co-governing SPD consequently forced a vote on the issue together with the opposition parties. Previous attempts by smaller parties to introduce same-sex marriage were blocked by the CDU/CSU-led government over several years, the bill was signed into law by German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier on 20 July and came into effect on 1 October 2017.
Same-sex marriage was introduced in Iceland through legislation establishing a gender-neutral definition of marriage introduced by the Coalition Government of the Social Democratic Alliance and Left-Green Movement, the legislation was passed unanimously by the Icelandic Althing on 11 June 2010, and took effect on 27 June 2010, replacing an earlier system of registered partnerships for same-sex couples. Prime Minister Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir and her partner were among the first married same-sex couples in the country.
Prior to the legalization of same-sex marriage, the Civil Partnership and Certain Rights and Obligations of Cohabitants Act 2010 allowed same sex couples to enter civil partnerships. The Act came into force on 1 January 2011 and gave same-sex couples rights and responsibilities similar to, but not equal to, those of civil marriage.
On 22 May 2015, Ireland held a referendum, the referendum proposed to add to the Irish Constitution: "marriage may be contracted in accordance with law by two persons without distinction as to their sex". The proposal was approved with 62% of voters supporting same-sex marriage, on 29 August 2015, Irish President Michael D. Higgins signed the result of the May referendum into law, which made Ireland the first country in the world to approve same-sex marriage at a nationwide referendum. Same-sex marriage became formally legally recognised in Ireland on 16 November 2015.
The Parliament approved a bill to legalise same-sex marriage on 18 June 2014, the law was published in the official gazette on 17 July and took effect on 1 January 2015. On 15 May 2015, Luxembourg became the first country in the European Union to have a prime minister who is in a same-sex marriage, and the second one in Europe. Prime Minister Xavier Bettel married Gauthier Destenay, with whom he had been in a civil partnership since 2010.
Malta has recognized same-sex unions since April 2014, following the enactment of the Civil Unions Act, first introduced in September 2013, it established civil unions with same rights, responsibilities, and obligations as marriage, including the right of joint adoption and recognition of foreign same-sex marriage. The Maltese Parliament gave final approval to the legislation on 14 April 2014 by a vote of 37 in favour and 30 abstentions. President Marie Louise Coleiro Preca signed it into law on 16 April, the first foreign same-sex marriage was registered on 29 April 2014 and the first civil union was performed on 14 June 2014.
On 21 February 2017, Minister for Social Dialogue, Consumer Affairs, and Civil Liberties Helena Dalli said that she was preparing a bill to legalise same-sex marriage, the bill was presented to Parliament on 5 July 2017. The bill's last reading took place in Parliament on 12 July 2017, where it was approved 66-1, it was signed into law and published in the Government Gazette on 1 August 2017. Malta became the 14th country in Europe to legalise same-sex marriage.
Same-sex couples can marry in Mexico City and in the states of Baja California, Campeche, Chiapas, Chihuahua, Coahuila, Colima, Jalisco, Michoacán, Morelos, Nayarit, Puebla and Quintana Roo as well as in some municipalities in Querétaro. In individual cases, same-sex couples have been given judicial approval to marry in all other states, since August 2010, same-sex marriages performed within Mexico are recognized by the 31 states without exception.
On 21 December 2009, the Federal District's Legislative Assembly legalized same-sex marriages and adoption by same-sex couples, the law was enacted eight days later and became effective in early March 2010. On 10 August 2010, the Mexican Supreme Court ruled that while not every state must grant same-sex marriages, they must all recognize those performed where they are legal.
On 28 November 2011, the first two same-sex marriages occurred in Quintana Roo after it was discovered that Quintana Roo's Civil Code did not explicitly prohibit same-sex marriage, but these marriages were later annulled by the Governor of Quintana Roo in April 2012. In May 2012, the Secretary of State of Quintana Roo reversed the annulments and allowed for future same-sex marriages to be performed in the state.
On 11 February 2014, the Congress of Coahuila approved adoptions by same-sex couples. A bill legalizing same-sex marriages passed on 1 September 2014, making Coahuila the second state to reform its Civil Code to allow for legal same-sex marriages, it took effect on 17 September, and the first couple married on 20 September.
On 12 June 2015, the Governor of Chihuahua announced that his administration would no longer oppose same-sex marriages within the state, the order was effective immediately, thus making Chihuahua the third state to legalize such unions.
On 3 June 2015, the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation released a "jurisprudential thesis" which deems the state-laws defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman unconstitutional. The ruling standardized court procedures across Mexico to authorize same-sex marriages. However, the process is still lengthy and more expensive than that for an opposite-sex marriage, as the ruling did not invalidate any state laws, meaning gay couples will be denied the right to wed and will have to turn to the courts for individual injunctions. However, given the nature of the ruling, judges and courts throughout Mexico must approve any application for a same-sex marriage, the official release of the thesis was on 19 June 2015, which took effect on 22 June 2015.
On 25 June 2015, following the Supreme Court's ruling striking down district same-sex marriage bans, the Civil Registry of Guerrero announced that they had planned a collective same-sex marriage ceremony for 10 July 2015 and indicated that there would have to be a change to the law to allow gender-neutral marriage, passed through the state Legislature before the official commencement. The registry announced more details of their plan, advising that only select registration offices in the state would be able to participate in the collective marriage event, the state Governor instructed civil agencies to approve same-sex marriage licenses. On 10 July 2015, 20 same-sex couples were married by Governor Rogelio Ortega in Acapulco, on 13 January 2016, the head of the Civil Registry of Acapulco announced that all marriages that took place on 10 July 2015 by the Governor and his wife were void and not legal as same-sex marriage is not legal in Guerrero, unless couples are granted amparo beforehand. On 13 February 2016, however, the head of Guerrero's State Civil Registry department announced that same-sex couples could marry in any of the jurisdictions that want to marry the couples and criticised Acapulco's Civil Registry and other civil registries throughout the state for not allowing these kinds of weddings. By March 2017, every state municipality in Guerrero had stopped issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
On 17 December 2015, the Congress of Nayarit approved a bill legalizing same-sex marriage; in January 2016, the Mexican Supreme Court declared Jalisco's Civil Code unconstitutional for limiting marriage to opposite-sex couples, effectively legalizing same-sex marriage in the state. On 10 May 2016, the Congress of Campeche passed a same-sex marriage bill, on 18 May 2016, both Michoacán and Morelos passed bills allowing for same-sex marriage to be legal. On 25 May 2016, a bill to legalize same-sex marriage in Colima was approved by the state Congress; in July and August 2017, respectively, the Mexican Supreme Court invalidated same-sex marriage bans in the states of Chiapas and Puebla. In November 2017, the State Government of Baja California decided to stop enforcing its same-sex marriage ban.
On 17 May 2016, the President of Mexico, Enrique Peña Nieto, signed an initiative to change the country's Constitution, which would legalize same-sex marriage throughout Mexico, on 9 November 2016, the Committee on Constitutional Issues of the Chamber of Deputies rejected the initiative 19 votes to 8.
The Netherlands was the first country to extend marriage laws to include same-sex couples, following the recommendation of a special commission appointed to investigate the issue in 1995. A same-sex marriage bill passed the House of Representatives and the Senate in 2000, taking effect on 1 April 2001.
In the Dutch Caribbean special municipalities of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba, marriage is open to same-sex couples. A law enabling same-sex couples to marry in these municipalities passed and came into effect on 10 October 2012, the Caribbean countries Aruba, Curaçao and Sint Maarten, forming the remainder of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, do not perform same-sex marriages, but must recognize those performed in the Netherlands proper.
On 14 May 2012, Labour Party MP Louisa Wall stated that she would introduce a private member's bill, the Marriage (Definition of Marriage) Amendment Bill, allowing same-sex couples to marry. The bill was submitted to the members' bill ballot on 30 May 2012, it was drawn from the ballot and passed the first and second readings on 29 August 2012 and 13 March 2013, respectively. The final reading passed on 17 April 2013 by 77 votes to 44, the bill received royal assent from the Governor-General on 19 April and took effect on 19 August 2013.
New Zealand marriage law only applies to New Zealand proper and the Ross Dependency in Antarctica. Other New Zealand territories, including Cook Islands, Niue and Tokelau, have their own marriage law and do not perform or recognise same-sex marriage.
Same-sex marriage became legal in Norway on 1 January 2009 when a gender-neutral marriage bill was enacted after being passed by the Norwegian Parliament in June 2008. Norway became the first Scandinavian country and the sixth country in the world to legalize same-sex marriage. Gender-neutral marriage replaced Norway's previous system of registered partnerships for same-sex couples. Couples in registered partnerships are able to retain that status or convert their registered partnership to a marriage. No new registered partnerships may be created.
On 17 October 2016, a married same-sex couple filed an action of unconstitutionality seeking to recognise same-sex marriages performed abroad; in early November, the case was admitted to the Supreme Court. A challenge seeking to fully legalize same-sex marriage in Panama was introduced before the Supreme Court in March 2017, the Supreme Court heard arguments on both cases in summer 2017.
As the Supreme Court was deliberating on the two cases, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights ruled on 9 January 2018 that countries signatory to the American Convention on Human Rights must legalise same-sex marriage. On 16 January, the Panamanian Government welcomed the decision. Vice President Isabel Saint Malo, speaking on behalf of the Government, announced that the country would fully abide by the ruling. Official notices, requiring compliance with the ruling, were sent out to various governmental departments that same day.
Portugal created de facto unions similar to common-law marriage for cohabiting opposite-sex partners in 1999, and extended these unions to same-sex couples in 2001. However, the 2001 extension did not allow for same-sex adoption, either jointly or of stepchildren.
On 11 February 2010, Parliament approved a bill legalizing same-sex marriage, the Portuguese President promulgated the law on 8 April 2010 and the law was effective on 5 June 2010, making Portugal the eighth country to legalize nationwide same-sex marriage; however, adoption was still denied for same-sex couples.
Legal recognition of same-sex marriages in South Africa came about as a result of the Constitutional Court's decision in the case of Minister of Home Affairs v Fourie. The court ruled on 1 December 2005 that the existing marriage laws violated the equality clause of the Bill of Rights because they discriminated on the basis of sexual orientation, the court gave Parliament one year to rectify the inequality.
The Civil Union Act was passed by the National Assembly on 14 November 2006, by a vote of 230 to 41, it became law on 30 November 2006. South Africa became the fifth country, the first in Africa, and the second outside Europe, to legalize same-sex marriage.
In 2004, the nation's newly elected Socialist Government, led by President José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, began a campaign for its legalization, including the right of adoption by same-sex couples. After much debate, the law permitting same-sex marriage was passed by the Cortes Generales (Spain's bicameral Parliament) on 30 June 2005. King Juan Carlos, who by law has up to 30 days to decide whether to grant royal assent to laws, signed it on 1 July 2005. The law was published on 2 July 2005.
Same-sex marriage in Sweden has been legal since 1 May 2009, following the adoption of a new gender-neutral law on marriage by the Swedish Parliament on 1 April 2009, making Sweden the seventh country in the world to open marriage to same-sex couples nationwide. Marriage replaced Sweden's registered partnerships for same-sex couples. Existing registered partnerships between same-sex couples remained in force with an option to convert them into marriages. Same-sex marriages have been performed by the Church of Sweden since 2009.
Since 2005, same-sex couples have been allowed to enter into civil partnerships, a separate union providing the legal consequences of marriage; in 2006, the High Court rejected a legal bid by a British lesbian couple who had married in Canada to have their union recognised as a marriage in the UK rather than a civil partnership.
In September 2011, the Coalition Government announced its intention to introduce same-sex civil marriage in England and Wales by the May 2015 general election. However, unlike the Scottish Government's consultation, the UK Government's consultation for England and Wales did not include provision for religious ceremonies; in May 2012, three religious groups (Quakers, Liberal Judaism and Unitarians) sent a letter to David Cameron, asking that they be allowed to solemnise same-sex weddings.
In June 2012, the UK Government completed the consultation to allow civil marriage for same-sex couples in England and Wales; in its response to the consultation, the Government said that it also intended "...to enable those religious organisations that wish to conduct same-sex marriage ceremonies to do so, on a permissive basis only."
In December 2012, the Prime Minister, David Cameron, announced that, whilst he favoured allowing same-sex marriage within a religious context, provision would be made guaranteeing no religious institution would be required to perform such ceremonies, the third reading took place on 21 May 2013, and was approved by 366 votes to 161. On 16 July 2013, the Commons accepted all of the Lords' amendments, on 17 July 2013, the bill received royal assent becoming the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013, which came into force on 13 March 2014. The first same-sex marriages took place on 29 March 2014.
The Scottish Government conducted a three-month-long consultation which ended on 9 December 2011, the analysis was published in July 2012. Unlike the consultation held in England and Wales, Scotland considered both civil and religious same-sex marriage. Whilst the Scottish Government was in favour of same-sex marriage, it stated that no religious body would be forced to hold such ceremonies once legislation is enacted, on 27 June 2013, the Government published the bill. In order to preserve the freedom of both religious groups and individual clergy, the Scottish Government believed it necessary for changes to be made to the Equality Act 2010 and communicated with the UK Government on this matter; thus, the first same-sex marriages in Scotland did not occur until this had taken place.
On 4 February 2014, the Scottish Parliament overwhelmingly passed legislation legalising same-sex marriage, the bill received royal assent as the Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Act 2014 on 12 March 2014. The law took effect on 16 December 2014, with the first same-sex weddings occurring for those converting their civil partnerships into marriage.
The Northern Ireland Executive has stated that it does not intend to introduce legislation allowing for same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland. Same-sex marriages from other jurisdictions are treated as civil partnerships.
Of the fourteen British Overseas Territories, same-sex marriage has been legal in South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands since 2014, Akrotiri and Dhekelia and the British Indian Ocean Territory (for UK military personnel) since 3 June 2014, the Pitcairn Islands since 14 May 2015, the British Antarctic Territory since 13 October 2016, Gibraltar since 15 December 2016, Ascension Island since 1 January 2017, the Falkland Islands since 29 April 2017, Bermuda since 5 May 2017, Tristan da Cunha since 4 August 2017 and Saint Helena since 20 December 2017. Of the three Crown dependencies, same-sex marriage has been legal in the Isle of Man since 22 July 2016 and in Guernsey since 2 May 2017. Bermuda passed the Domestic Partnerships Act 2018, revoking same-sex marriage, which is scheduled to go into effect on June 1.
Same-sex marriage in the United States was established on a state-by-state basis, expanding from 1 state in 2004 to 36 states in 2015, when, on June 26, 2015, same-sex marriage was established in all 50 states as a result of the ruling of the Supreme Court of the United States in the landmark civil rights case of Obergefell v. Hodges, in which it was held that the right of same-sex couples to marry on the same terms and conditions as opposite-sex couples, with all the accompanying rights and responsibilities, is guaranteed by both the Due Process Clause and the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.
Civil rights campaigning in favor of marriage without distinction as to sex or sexual orientation began in the 1970s; in 1972, the now overturned Baker v. Nelson saw the U.S. Supreme Court decline to become involved, the issue became prominent from around 1993, when the Supreme Court of Hawaii ruled in Baehr v. Lewin that the state's abridgment of marriage on the basis of sex was unconstitutional. The ruling led to federal actions and actions by several states to explicitly abridge marriage on the basis of sex in order to prevent the marriages of same-sex couples from being recognized, the most prominent of which was DOMA; in 2003, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled in Goodridge v. Department of Public Health that it is unconstitutional for the state to abridge marriage on the basis of sex. From 2004 to 2015, as the tide of public opinion continued to move forward towards support of same-sex marriage, various state court rulings, state legislation, popular referendums, and federal court rulings established same-sex marriage in 36 states; in 2011, national public support for same-sex marriage rose above 50% for the first time. In 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned a key provision of DOMA, declaring part of it unconstitutional and in breach of the Fifth Amendment in United States v. Windsor. The ruling led to the federal government's recognition of same-sex marriage, with federal benefits for married couples connected to either the state of residence or the state in which the marriage was solemnized. However, the ruling focused on the provision of DOMA responsible for the federal government refusing to acknowledge state-sanctioned same-sex marriages, leaving the question of state marriage laws itself to the individual states, the U.S. Supreme Court addressed that question two years later in 2015, ruling, in Obergefell v. Hodges, that the right of same-sex couples to marry on the same terms and conditions as opposite-sex couples, with all the accompanying rights and responsibilities, is guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States.
The Obergefell ruling came following decades of consistently rising national public support for same-sex marriage in the United States, with support continuing to rise thereafter.
The United States of America is the most populous country in the world to have established same-sex marriage nationwide.
Uruguay's Chamber of Deputies passed a bill on 12 December 2012, to extend marriage rights to same-sex couples, the Senate passed the bill on 2 April 2013, but with minor amendments. On 10 April 2013, the Chamber of Deputies passed the amended bill by a two-thirds majority (71–22), the president promulgated the law on 3 May 2013 and it took effect on 5 August.
Armenia has historically had few protections or recognition in law of same-sex couples, this changed in July 2017, when the Ministry of Justice revealed that all marriages performed abroad are valid in Armenia, including marriages between people of the same sex. That made Armenia the second country of the former Soviet Union, after Estonia, to recognise same-sex marriages performed abroad.
The Bulgarian Constitution forbids the legalisation of same-sex marriage, stipulating that marriage can only be between a man and a woman.
In late 2017, a Bulgarian same-sex couple, who married in the United Kingdom, filed a lawsuit in order to have their marriage recognised, the Sofia Administrative Court ruled against them in January 2018.
Michelle Bachelet, the President of Chile, who was elected to a second term in March 2014, has promised to work for the implementation of same-sex marriage and has a majority in both houses of Congress. Previously, she said, "Marriage equality, I believe we have to make it happen." Polling shows majority support for same-sex marriage among Chileans. A poll carried out during September 2015 by the pollster Cadem Plaza Pública found that 60% of Chileans support same-sex marriage, whilst 36% are against it.
On 10 December 2014, a group of senators from various parties, joined LGBT rights group MOVILH (Homosexual Movement of Integration and Liberation) in presenting a bill to allow same-sex marriage and adoption to Congress. MOVILH has been in talks with the Chilean Government to seek an amiable solution to the pending marriage lawsuit brought against the state before the Inter-American Court of Human Rights. MOVILH has suggested that they would drop the case if Bachelet's Congress keeps their promise to legislate same-sex marriage.
On 28 January 2015, the National Congress approved a bill recognizing civil unions for same-sex and opposite-sex couples offering some of the rights of marriage. Bachelet signed the bill on 14 April, and it came into effect on 22 October.
In September 2016, President Bachelet stated before a United Nations General Assembly panel that the Chilean Government would submit a same-sex marriage bill to Congress in the first half of 2017. A same-sex marriage bill was submitted in September 2017. Parliament began discussing the bill on 27 November 2017.
The 2018 Inter-American Court of Human Rights ruling regarding the legalisation of same-sex marriage in countries that have ratified the American Convention on Human Rights applies to Chile.
The Marriage Law of the People's Republic of China explicitly defines marriage as the union between one man and one woman. No other form of civil union is recognized, the attitude of the Chinese Government towards homosexuality is believed to be "three nos": "No approval; no disapproval; no promotion." The Ministry of Health officially removed homosexuality from its list of mental illnesses in 2001.
Li Yinhe, a sociologist and sexologist well known in the Chinese gay community, has tried to legalize same-sex marriage several times, including during the National People's Congress in 2000 and 2004 (Legalization for Same-Sex Marriage 《中国同性婚姻合法化》 in 2000 and the Same-Sex Marriage Bill 《中国同性婚姻提案》 in 2004). According to Chinese law, 35 delegates' signatures are needed to make an issue a bill to be discussed in the Congress, her efforts failed due to lack of support from the delegates. CPPCC National Committee spokesman Wu Jianmin when asked about Li Yinhe's proposal, said that same-sex marriage was still too "ahead of its time" for China, he argued that same-sex marriage was not recognized even in many Western countries, which are considered much more liberal in social issues than China. This statement is understood as an implication that the Government may consider recognition of same-sex marriage in the long run, but not in the near future.
On 5 January 2016, a court in Changsha, southern Hunan Province, agreed to hear the lawsuit of 26-year-old Sun Wenlin filed in December 2015 against the Bureau of Civil Affairs of Furong District for its June 2015 refusal to let him marry his 36-year-old male partner, Hu Mingliang. On 13 April 2016, with hundreds of same-sex marriage supporters outside, the Changsha court ruled against Sun, who vowed to appeal, citing the importance of his case for LGBT progress in China.
In 2013, gay activist Pamela Troya filed a lawsuit to strike down Ecuador's same-sex marriage ban and legalise same-sex marriage in the country, the lawsuit remains pending.
The 2018 Inter-American Court of Human Rights ruling regarding the legalisation of same-sex marriage in countries that have ratified the American Convention on Human Rights applies to Ecuador.
In August 2016, a lawyer in El Salvador filed a lawsuit before the country's Supreme Court asking for the nullification of Article 11 of the Family Code which defines marriage as a heterosexual union. Labeling the law as discriminatory and explaining the lack of gendered terms used in Article 34 of the Constitution’s summary of a marriage, the lawsuit seeks to allow same-sex couples the right to wed, the Court dismissed the lawsuit in December 2016. A second lawsuit was filed in November 2016.
The 2018 Inter-American Court of Human Rights ruling regarding the legalisation of same-sex marriage in countries that have ratified the American Convention on Human Rights applies to El Salvador.
In October 2014, the Estonian Parliament approved a civil union law open to both opposite-sex and same-sex couples.
In December 2016, the Tallinn Circuit Court ruled that same-sex marriages concluded in another country must be recognised as such in Estonia.
In 2016, a man filed a challenge against Georgia's same-sex marriage ban, arguing that while the Civil Code of Georgia states that marriage is explicitly between a man and a woman; the Constitution does not reference gender in its section on marriage.
In September 2017, the Georgian Parliament approved a constitutional amendment establishing marriage as "a union between a woman and a man for the purpose of creating a family." President Giorgi Margvelashvili vetoed the constitutional amendment on 9 October. Parliament overrode his veto on 13 October.
Same-sex marriage is not explicitly prohibited under Indian law and at least one couple has had their marriage recognised by the courts.
Israel's High Court of Justice ruled to recognize foreign same-sex marriages for the limited purpose of registration with the Administration of Border Crossings, Population and Immigration, however this is merely for statistical purposes and grants no state-level rights; Israel does not recognize civil marriages performed under its own jurisdiction. A bill was raised in the Knesset (parliament) to rescind the High Court's ruling, but the Knesset has not advanced the bill since December 2006. A bill to legalize same-sex and interfaith civil marriages was defeated in the Knesset, 39–11, on 16 May 2012.
In November 2015, the National LGBT Taskforce of Israel petitioned the Supreme Court of Israel to allow same-sex marriage in the country, arguing that the refusal of the rabbinical court to recognise same-sex marriage should not prevent civil courts from performing same-sex marriages, the court did not immediately rule against the validity of the petition.
The cities of Bologna, Naples and Fano began recognizing same-sex marriages from other jurisdictions in July 2014, followed by Empoli, Pordenone, Udine and Trieste in September, and Florence, Piombino, Milan and Rome in October, and by Bagheria in November. Other cities that are considering similar laws include Cagliari, Livorno, Syracuse, Pompei and Treviso.
A January 2013 Datamonitor poll found that 54.1% of respondents were in favour of same-sex marriage. A May 2013 Ipsos poll found that 42% of Italians supported allowing same-sex couples to marry and adopt children. An October 2014 Demos poll found that 55% of respondents were in favour of same-sex marriage, with 42% against.
On 25 February 2016, the Italian Senate passed a bill allowing civil unions with 173 senators in favour and 73 against, that same bill was approved by the Chamber of Deputies on 11 May 2016 with 372 deputies in favour and 51 against. The President of Italy signed the bill into law on 22 May 2016 and the law went into effect on 5 June 2016.
On 31 January 2017, the Italian Supreme Court of Cassation ruled that same-sex marriages performed abroad can be fully recognized by court order, when at least one of the two spouses is a citizen of a European Union country where same-sex marriage is legal.
Same-sex marriage is not legal in Japan. Article 24 of the Japanese Constitution states that "Marriage shall be based only on the mutual consent of both sexes and it shall be maintained through mutual cooperation with the equal rights of husband and wife as a basis." Article 24 was created to establish the equality of both sexes in marriage, in opposition to the pre-war legal situation whereby the husband/father was legally defined as the head of household and marriage require permission from the male head of the family.
51% of the Japanese population supports same-sex marriage, according to the latest poll carried out in 2017.
On 27 May 2016, the Constitutional Court of Latvia overturned an administrative court decision which refused an application to register a same-sex marriage in the country. A Supreme Court press spokeswoman said that the court agrees with the administrative court that current regulations do not allow for same-sex marriages to be legally performed in Latvia. However, the matter should have been considered in a context not of marriage, but of registering familial partnership. Furthermore, it would have been impossible to conclude whether the applicants' rights were violated or not unless their claim is accepted and reviewed in a proper manner, the Supreme Court will now decide whether the refusal was in breach of the Latvian Constitution and the European Convention on Human Rights.
In November 2008, the Supreme Court of Nepal issued final judgment on matters related to LGBT rights, which included permitting same-sex couples to marry. Same-sex marriage and protection for sexual minorities were to be included in the new Nepalese Constitution required to be completed by 31 May 2012. However, the Legislature was unable to agree on the Constitution before the deadline and was dissolved after the Supreme Court ruled that the term could not be extended.
In October 2016, the Ministry of Women, Children and Social Welfare constituted a committee for the purpose of preparing a draft bill to legalize same-sex marriage.
In a ruling published on 9 January 2017, the 7th Constitutional Court of Lima ordered the RENIEC to recognize and register the marriage of a same-sex couple who had previously wed in Mexico City. RENIEC later appealed the ruling.
On 14 February 2017, a bill legalizing same-sex marriage was introduced in the Peruvian Congress.
The 2018 Inter-American Court of Human Rights ruling regarding the legalisation of same-sex marriage in countries that have ratified the American Convention on Human Rights applies to Peru. On 11 January, the president of the Supreme Court stated that the Peruvian Government should abide by the IACHR ruling.
Same-sex marriages and civil unions are currently not recognized by the state, the illegal insurgent Communist Party of the Philippines performs same-sex marriages in territories under its control since 2005.
In October 2016, Speaker of the House of Representatives of the Philippines Pantaleon Alvarez announced he will file a civil union bill in Congress. The bill was introduced to Congress in October of the following year under the wing of the House Speaker and three other congresspersons, including Geraldine Roman, the country's first duly-elected transgender lawmaker.
President Rodrigo Duterte supports the legalisation of same-sex marriage, but feels that such a law may not pass in Congress yet as many are still influenced heavily by colonial-era Christian ideals, he also supports same-sex civil union, which has a higher possibility for passage and is supported by the majority of congresspersons.
As of October 2016, a lawsuit initiated by a Romanian man seeking to have his marriage to an American man recognised is ongoing, the Constitutional Court is hearing the case and is consulting with the European Court of Justice on the matter. A hearing in the case took place in late March 2017.
Slovenia recognises registered partnerships for same-sex couples.
In December 2014, the eco-socialist United Left party introduced a bill amending expansion of the definition of marriage in the 1976 Marriage and Family Relations Act to include same-sex couples. In January 2015, the Government expressed no opposition to the bill; in February 2015, the bill was passed with 11 votes to 2. In March, the Assembly passed the bill in a 51–28 vote, on 10 March 2015, the National Council rejected a motion to require the Assembly to vote on the bill again, in a 14–23 vote. Opponents of the bill launched a petition for a referendum and managed to collect 40,000 signatures. Then Parliament voted to block the referendum with a clarification that it would be against the Slovenian Constitution to vote about matters concerning human rights. Finally the Constitutional Court ruled against the banning of the referendum (5–4) and the referendum was to be held on 20 December 2015.
In the referendum, 63.4% of the voters voted against the law, rendering Parliament's same-sex marriage act invalid.
In July 2015, Kim Jho Kwang-soo and his partner, Kim Seung-Hwan, filed a lawsuit seeking legal status for their marriage after their marriage registration form was rejected by the local authorities in Seoul, on 25 May 2016, a South Korean district court ruled against the couple and argued that without clear legislation a same-sex union can not be recognized as a marriage. The couple quickly filed an appeal against the district court ruling, their lawyer, Ryu Min-Hee, announced that two more same-sex couples had filed separate lawsuits in order to be allowed to wed.
A 2017 poll found that 41% of South Koreans support same-sex marriage, while 52% are opposed. Support is significantly higher among younger people, however, with a 2014 opinion poll showing that 60% of South Koreans in their 20s support same-sex marriage, approximately double that of 2010 (30.5%).
A same-sex marriage bill is pending in Parliament after the Green Liberal Party of Switzerland, introduced a constitutional initiative to legalize same-sex marriage in December 2013, in opposition to a Christian Democrat initiative banning same-sex marriage. The Committee for Legal Affairs of the National Council approved the Green Liberal initiative by 12-9 and 1 abstention on 20 February 2015, on 1 September 2015, the upper house's Legal Affairs Committee voted 7 to 5 to proceed with the initiative. The National Council's Legal Affairs Committee can now draft an act.
In a poll in June 2013 for ifop, 63% approved same-sex marriage, after the National Council's Committee of Law Affairs' decision to approve same-sex marriage, two opinion polls released on 22 February 2015 showed a support of 54% (Léger Marketing for Blick) and 71% (GfS Zürich for SonntagsZeitung) allowing same-sex couples to marry and adopt children. Additionally, in November 2016, voters in the canton of Zürich overwhelmingly rejected an initiative seeking to ban same-sex marriage in the cantonal Constitution, with 81% voting against.
In March 2015, the Swiss Federal Council released a governmental report about marriage and new rights for families, it opens the possibility to introduce registered partnerships for different-sex couples as well as same-sex marriage for same-sex couples. Federal Councillor Simonetta Sommaruga in charge of the Federal Department of Justice and Police also stated she hoped personally that same-sex couples would soon be allowed to marry.
The Christian Democratic People's Party of Switzerland (CVP/PDC) started in 2011 with gathering signatures for a popular initiative entitled "For the couple and the family - No to the penalty of marriage". This initiative would change article 14 of the Swiss Federal Constitution and aimed to put equal fiscal rights and equal social security benefits between married couples and unmarried cohabiting couples. However, the text aimed to introduce as well in the Constitution for the first time ever the definition of marriage, which would be the sole "union between a man and a woman", on 19 June 2015, the Parliament recommended that voters reject the initiative. The Federal Council also recommended rejecting the initiative, the Swiss people voted on the Christian Democrats' proposal in a referendum on 28 February 2016 and rejected it by 50.8% of the votes.
On 22 December 2014, a proposed amendment to the Civil Code which would legalize same-sex marriage was due to go under review by the Judiciary Committee. If the amendment passes the committee stage it will then be voted on at the plenary session of the Legislative Yuan in 2015, the amendment, called the marriage equality amendment, would insert neutral terms into the Civil Code replacing ones that imply heterosexual marriage, effectively legalizing same-sex marriage. It would also allow same-sex couples to adopt children.
Yu Mei-nu of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), who is the convener of the current legislative session, has expressed support for the amendment as have more than 20 other DPP lawmakers as well as two from the Taiwan Solidarity Union and one each from the Kuomintang and the People First Party. Taiwan would become the first country in Asia to legalize same-sex marriage if the Civil Code is amended.
A poll carried out between August and October 2015 found that 71% of the Taiwanese population supports same-sex marriage. Tsai Ing-wen, the President of Taiwan since May 2016, announced her support of same-sex marriage in November 2015.
On 24 May 2017, the Constitutional Court ruled that same-sex couples have the right to marry, and gave the government two years to amend the law to that effect. If the law is not amended after two years, same-sex couples will be able to register a valid marriage application in Taiwan.
In April 2016, the Supreme Court announced it would hear a lawsuit which seeks to declare Article 44 of the Civil Code unconstitutional for outlawing same-sex marriage.
In Vietnam, currently only a marriage between a man and a woman is recognized. Vietnam's Ministry of Justice began seeking advice on legalizing same-sex marriage from other governmental and non-governmental organizations in April and May 2012, and planned to further discuss the issue at the National Assembly in Spring 2013. However, in February 2013, the Ministry of Justice requested that the National Assembly avoid action until 2014, at a hearing to discuss marriage law reforms in April 2013, deputy minister of health Nguyen Viet Tien proposed that same-sex marriage be made legal immediately.
The Vietnamese Government abolished an administrative fine imposed on same-sex weddings in 2013, the policy was enacted on 11 November 2013. The 100,000–500,000 VND ($24USD) fine will be abolished, although same-sex marriages are not permitted in Vietnam, the policy will decriminalize the relationship, habitual privileges such as household registry, property, child raising, and co-habitual partnerships are recognized.
In June 2013, the National Assembly began formal debate on a proposal to establish legal recognition for same-sex marriage, on 24 September 2013, the Government issued the decree abolishing the fines on same-sex marriages. The decree took effect on 11 November 2013.
On 27 May 2014, the National Assembly's Committee for Social Affairs removed the provision giving legal status and some rights to cohabiting same-sex couples from the Government's bill to amend the Law on Marriage and Family, the bill was approved by the National Assembly on 19 June 2014.
On 1 January 2015, the 2014 Law on Marriage and Family officially went into effect. It states that while Vietnam allows same-sex weddings, it will not offer legal recognition or protection to unions between people of the same sex.
The terms of employment of the staff of international organizations (not commercial) in most cases are not governed by the laws of the country where their offices are located. Agreements with the host country safeguard these organizations' impartiality.
Despite their relative independence, few organizations recognize same-sex partnerships without condition, the agencies of the United Nations recognize same-sex marriages if and only if the country of citizenship of the employees in question recognizes the marriage. In some cases, these organizations do offer a limited selection of the benefits normally provided to mixed-sex married couples to de facto partners or domestic partners of their staff, but even individuals who have entered into a mixed-sex civil union in their home country are not guaranteed full recognition of this union in all organizations. However, the World Bank does recognize domestic partners.
Civil union, civil partnership, domestic partnership, registered partnership, unregistered partnership, and unregistered cohabitation statuses offer varying legal benefits of marriage. As of December 2017, countries that have an alternative form of legal recognition other than marriage on a national level are: Andorra, Chile, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Ecuador, Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Israel, Italy, Japan (various cities), Liechtenstein, Mexico (Tlaxcala), the Netherlands (Aruba), San Marino, Slovenia, Switzerland, Taiwan (all special municipalities and some counties and provincial cities) and the United Kingdom (Northern Ireland and Jersey).
Additionally, fourteen countries which have legalized same-sex marriage still have an alternative form of legal recognition for same-sex couples, usually available to heterosexual couples as well: Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Colombia, France, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, the United Kingdom and Uruguay.
Non-sexual same-sex marriage
Female same-sex marriage is practiced among the Gikuyu, Nandi, Kamba, Kipsigis, and to a lesser extent neighboring peoples. Approximately 5–10% of women are in such marriages. However, this is not seen as homosexual, but is instead a way for families without sons to keep their inheritance within the family, the laws criminalizing homosexuality are generally specific to men, though in 2010 the prime minister called for women to be arrested as well.
In Nigeria, homosexual activity between men, but not between women, is illegal; in 2006, Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo introduced legislation that prohibits same-sex marriages and criminalizes anyone who "performs, witnesses, aids or abets" such ceremonies.
Among the Igbo people and probably other peoples in the south of the country, there are circumstances where a marriage between women is considered appropriate, such as when a woman has no child and her husband dies, and she takes a wife to perpetuate her inheritance and family lineage.
While few societies have recognized same-sex unions as marriages, the historical and anthropological record reveals a large range of attitudes towards same-sex unions ranging from praise, through full acceptance and integration, sympathetic toleration, indifference, prohibition and discrimination, to persecution and physical annihilation. Opponents of same-sex marriages have argued that same-sex marriage, while doing good for the couples that participate in them and the children they are raising, undermines a right of children to be raised by their biological mother and father, some supporters of same-sex marriages take the view that the government should have no role in regulating personal relationships, while others argue that same-sex marriages would provide social benefits to same-sex couples. The debate regarding same-sex marriages includes debate based upon social viewpoints as well as debate based on majority rules, religious convictions, economic arguments, health-related concerns, and a variety of other issues.
Scientific literature indicates that parents' financial, psychological and physical well-being is enhanced by marriage and that children benefit from being raised by two parents within a legally recognized union (either a mixed-sex or same-sex union), as a result, professional scientific associations have argued for same-sex marriage to be legally recognized as it will be beneficial to the children of same-sex parents or carers.
Scientific research has been generally consistent in showing that lesbian and gay parents are as fit and capable as heterosexual parents, and their children are as psychologically healthy and well-adjusted as children reared by heterosexual parents. According to scientific literature reviews, there is no evidence to the contrary.
All states that allow same-sex marriage also allow the joint adoption of children by people of the same sex, with the exceptions of Jalisco, Nayarit and Quintana Roo in Mexico; in addition, Andorra, Austria and Israel as well as several subnational jurisdictions which do not recognize same-sex marriage nonetheless permit joint adoption by unmarried same-sex couples: Querétaro and Veracruz in Mexico as well as Northern Ireland and Jersey in the United Kingdom. Some additional states allow stepchild adoption by those who are in a same-sex relationship but are unmarried: Croatia, Estonia, Italy (on a case-by-case basis), Slovenia and Switzerland.
Surrogacy and IVF treatment
A gay or bisexual man has the option of surrogacy, the process in which a woman bears a child for another person through artificial insemination or carries another woman's surgically implanted fertilized egg to birth. A lesbian or bisexual woman has the option of artificial insemination.
Transgender and intersex people
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When sex is defined legally, it may be defined by any one of several criteria: the XY sex-determination system, the type of gonads, the type of external sexual features, or the person's social identification. Consequently, both transgender and intersex individuals may be legally categorized into confusing gray areas, and could be prohibited from marrying partners of the "opposite" sex or permitted to marry partners of the "same" sex due to legal distinctions. This could result in long-term marriages, as well as recent same-sex marriages, being overturned.
The problems of defining gender by the existence/non-existence of gonads or certain sexual features is complicated by the existence of surgical methods to alter these features. Estimates run as high as one percent of live births exhibiting some degree of sexual ambiguity, and between 0.1% and 0.2% of live births being ambiguous enough to become the subject of specialist medical attention, including sometimes involuntary surgery to address their sexual ambiguity.
In any legal jurisdiction where marriages are defined without distinction of a requirement of a male and female, these complications do not occur; in addition, some legal jurisdictions recognize a legal and official change of gender, which would allow a transgender male or female to be legally married in accordance with an adopted gender identity.
In the United Kingdom, the Gender Recognition Act 2004 allows a person who has lived in their chosen gender for at least two years to receive a gender recognition certificate officially recognizing their new gender, because in the United Kingdom marriages were until recently only for mixed-sex couples and civil partnerships are only for same-sex couples, a person must dissolve his/her civil partnership before obtaining a gender recognition certificate, and the same was formerly true for marriages in England and Wales, and still is in other territories. Such people are then free to enter or re-enter civil partnerships or marriages in accordance with their newly recognized gender identity; in Austria, a similar provision requiring transsexual people to divorce before having their legal sex marker corrected was found to be unconstitutional in 2006.
In Quebec, prior to the legalization of same-sex marriage, only unmarried people could apply for legal change of gender, with the advent of same-sex marriage, this restriction was dropped. A similar provision including sterilization also existed in Sweden, but was phased out in 2013.
In the United States, transgender and intersex marriages typically run into similar complications. As definitions and enforcement of marriage are defined by the states, these complications vary from state to state, as some of them prohibit legal changes of gender.
In the United States of America before the case of Obergefell v. Hodges, couples in same-sex marriages could only obtain a divorce in jurisdictions that recognized same-sex marriages, with some exceptions.
Judicial and legislative
There are differing positions regarding the manner in which same-sex marriage has been introduced into democratic jurisdictions. A "majority rules" position holds that same-sex marriage is valid, or void and illegal, based upon whether it has been accepted by a simple majority of voters or of their elected representatives.
In contrast, a civil rights view holds that the institution can be validly created through the ruling of an impartial judiciary carefully examining the questioning and finding that the right to marry regardless of the gender of the participants is guaranteed under the civil rights laws of the jurisdiction.
In some nations, religion plays a prominent role in discourse about same-sex marriage, and several religious organizations and churches have expressed a range of official positions. Religious views on same-sex marriage are closely related to religious views on homosexuality. While the majority of world religions stand in opposition, the number of denominations accepting and conducting same-sex marriages has increased in the 2000s and 2010s. Some religious arguments for supporting same-sex marriage are beginning to emerge.
The two largest branches of Christianity, the Roman Catholic Church, and the Eastern Orthodox Church, both oppose same-sex marriage and view homosexual activity as sinful. The Protestant denominations are more divided, but most evangelical Protestants and various other Protestant denominations, such as Seventh-day Adventists, take official positions opposing same-sex marriage, the Jehovah's Witnesses are also officially opposed to same-sex marriage. Some Protestant groups, like the Episcopal Church, the Presbyterian Church (USA), the United Church of Christ and the Old Catholic Church (US Province), support allowing those of the same sex to marry or conduct same-sex marriage ceremonies. Some individual churches have committed to marriage equality in opposition to their denominations' stances. In 2016, a survey found that 64% of white mainline Protestants in the United States favor allowing same-sex couples to legally wed.
The vast majority of traditional Muslim scholars believe Shariah law opposes same-sex marriage and condemns same-sex sex, this is also the dominant view in modern Muslim societies. Some Muslims in the West now argue that homosexuality is allowed by Shariah law. Most Orthodox Jewish leaders oppose same-sex marriage, while Conservative, Reform, and Reconstructionist Jewish rabbinical groups affirm its validity, although Buddhism is considered to be ambivalent on the subject as a whole,[not in citation given] particular Buddhists have supported same-sex marriage, as do a variety of other religious traditions.
One source of controversy is whether same-sex marriage affects freedom of religion. Some religious organizations may refuse to provide employment, public accommodations, adoption services, and other benefits to same-sex couples, some jurisdictions include religion accommodation provisions in marriage equality laws.
Following the decision of the U.S. Supreme Court in the case of Obergefell v. Hodges in June 2015, a county clerk in Kentucky, Kim Davis, who objects to same-sex marriage on religious grounds, was named as defendant in six lawsuits after refusing to issue marriage licenses to opposite-sex and same-sex couples. Some prominent Americans, including politician Ted Cruz, expressed support for her.
Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission is a pending case before the Supreme Court of the United States on whether creative businesses can refuse certain services due to their First Amendment rights of free speech and free exercise of religion in light of public accommodation laws—in particular, by refusing to provide creative services, such as a custom wedding cake for same-sex marriage ceremonies, on the basis of one's religious beliefs. The Court took oral arguments on 5 December 2017, with a decision likely to be made by the end of the court's term.
- Documentaries and literature
- A Union in Wait
- Freedom to Marry
- Marriage Equality USA
- Marriage Under Fire
- Pursuit of Equality
- The Case Against 8
- The Gay Marriage Thing
- Boy Meets Boy (musical)
- Same-sex marriage is legal in the states of Baja California, Campeche, Chiapas, Chihuahua, Coahuila, Colima, Jalisco, Michoacán, Morelos, Nayarit, Puebla, Quintana Roo and Mexico City as well as in some municipalities in Querétaro. Same-sex marriages performed in these jurisdictions are recognized throughout Mexico.
- Same-sex marriage is legal in the Netherlands proper. Same-sex marriages performed there are recognized in Aruba, Curaçao and Sint Maarten.
- Same-sex marriage is legal in New Zealand proper, though is not legal in Tokelau, the Cook Islands and Niue, which together make up the Realm of New Zealand.
- Same-sex marriage is legal in England, Wales and Scotland; though is notably not legal in Northern Ireland. Same-sex marriage is legal in the overseas territories of Akrotiri and Dhekelia, Bermuda, the British Antarctic Territory, the British Indian Ocean Territory, the Falkland Islands, Gibraltar, the Pitcairn Islands, Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha and South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands and in the Crown dependencies of Guernsey and the Isle of Man. Cite error: Invalid
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- Same-sex marriage is recognized in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and all territories except American Samoa. Some, but not all, tribal jurisdictions recognize same-sex marriage.
- The constitutional courts of both Taiwan and Austria have given their respective national legislatures a grace period within which to legislatively implement the reform (until January 2019 for Austria and May 2019 for Taiwan). Upon the end of the grace period, same-sex marriage automatically becomes law in these countries.
- The countries which are signatories to the American Convention on Human Rights and recognize the binding jurisdiction of the court are Barbados, Bolivia, Chile, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru and Suriname.
Dominica, Grenada and Jamaica, which are also signatories to the convention, have not agreed to the court's blanket jurisdiction.
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- Also comprises: Don't know; No answer; Other; Refused.
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