Same-sex marriage around the world
March 25th, 2013
06:13 AM ET

Same-sex marriage around the world

Editor’s note: This is an updated version of an article published in February 2013.

Last year, President Barack Obama announced that he now supports same-sex marriage, setting off a new round of debate in the U.S. over the issue. His support came on the heels of North Carolina voting to implement a state constitutional ban on same-sex marriage.

This week, the U.S. Supreme Court is hearing oral arguments in two cases that will have major implications for gay rights in America. One case looks at whether voters can block same sex marriage, as was the case with California's Proposition 8. The other looks at the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act, passed in 1996, which defined marriage as between a man and a woman. That act was signed into law by former President Bill Clinton, who said recently that he regretted the decision. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, meanwhile, has announced her support for gay marriage, saying "gay rights are human rights, and human rights are gay rights."

But where around the world is same-sex marriage legal, where is legislation likely to happen next – and where is it criminalized?

The first same-sex couples walked down the aisle in the Netherlands in 2001. Since then, almost a dozen countries have followed in passing laws allowing same-sex marriages and domestic partnerships, including Argentina, Brazil, Canada, South Africa, Belgium and Spain. Nearly 20 other countries offer some rights to same-sex couples but stop short of marriage – including France, Germany and the U.K.

After becoming the first country to legalize same-sex unions in 1989, Denmark last June backed a gender neutral bill allowing gay marriages through church weddings or civil registry. In February of this year, meanwhile, British members of parliament offered resounding support for same sex marriage, voting 400 to 175 in support of a bill on its second reading in the House of Commons.

More from CNN: 5 things to watch in Supreme Court case

Australia, though, is one of many countries around the world where same-sex couples are not permitted to legally marry. A bill that calls for the legalization of gay marriage was submitted to parliament but received little support, especially from the country's leader. Prime Minister Julia Gillard has long opposed gay marriage, and in September, lawmakers voted overwhelmingly to reject a bill that would have legalized same-sex marriage.

But opposition has also been seen in some parts of Europe, including in France where protesters have taken to the streets over a draft law that would allow same-sex marriage and adoption. This past weekend, hundreds of thousands turned out in Paris in demonstrations that eventually turned violent as riot police used teargas.

More from CNN: Will gay rights infringe religious liberty?

In a number of places, homosexuality – let alone same-sex marriage – is considered illegal. Some countries, meanwhile, allow gay marriage in certain jurisdictions.

Here's the full list of where same-sex marriage is legal (and year the law passed):
Argentina – 2010
Belgium – 2003
Canada – 2005
Iceland – 2010
Netherlands – 2001
Norway – 2008
Portugal – 2010
South Africa – 2006
Spain – 2005
Sweden – 2009
Denmark – 2012

What's your take? Should the Supreme Court allow gay marriage? Should states be allowed to decide for themselves? Is your country likely to? Is the U.S. debate on the issue different or the same as other parts of the world? Submit an iReport or share your comments below.


soundoff (313 Responses)
  1. JustSayin

    Why do gays keep comparing this to black civil rights if most blacks are antigay? I dont think you are seeing that many black people appreciating the comparison.

    March 27, 2013 at 10:41 am | Reply
    • Bill

      Im quite sure they would have appreciated the comparison if g a y s had been granted equal rights prior to blacks.

      March 27, 2013 at 3:08 pm | Reply
  2. Greg

    You do not need the Bible to find evidence of God. However the Bible provides us with how to live a Christian life.

    As far as the evidence of God (for those atheists out there) look around, you will see his evidence in everything in life. Let’s look at it from a scientific view then, in every species that walks this planet, there is male and female (Is this by accident, just by nature, just by chance...come on now how serious can you be.) And with each species we are all symmetrical in design, the left half of your body mirrors your right half, This cannot be a freakish act of nature, it can only be done with intent design.

    March 27, 2013 at 11:14 am | Reply
    • Bill

      "in every species that walks this planet, there is male and female "

      Uh, maybe you should have paid more attention in biology class.

      March 27, 2013 at 3:10 pm | Reply
  3. Chris

    I am so sick of hearing about gay marriage and gay rights. Why is this all I hear about any more? Especially when what, like 2% of the population is gay, but 50% of the news is all about them. Get over it America.

    March 27, 2013 at 1:06 pm | Reply
    • JAM

      THE WORLD IS DOOMED..... REMEMBER SODOM......AND GOMORA....
      .....GAY MARRIAGE IS ILLEGAL
      WE DO EXPECT GAY PRESIDENTS......GAY S GAYS.......? NEVER DARE TO BE ONE OR YOUR CHILD TO BE?
      IS THE SHAME FULL IN HUMAN HISTORY...
      WE COME TOGETHER AND STOP IT

      April 1, 2013 at 3:22 pm | Reply
  4. Yakobi

    It is a holy tradition of hindus.

    March 27, 2013 at 1:45 pm | Reply
  5. Eric

    I've never seen a good argument against gay marrage. Not one. Why would you want to prevent a loving caring relationship? What is the alternative? I certainly would not want my parents to be the people who wrote the hateful comments against gays. Imagine how difficult it would be to grow up gay in a hateful family like that, wow. It's scary.

    March 27, 2013 at 1:49 pm | Reply
    • Shaykey Ground

      Here's one:
      Why must you use that exact name (Marriage) ???
      Who cares about the name, if it carries the same exact rights. You just want to be stubborn for the sake of stubbornness.

      March 27, 2013 at 2:21 pm | Reply
      • Bill

        In what alternative universe do g a y s have the same federal rights as hetero's.

        March 27, 2013 at 3:33 pm |
      • Crys

        Nope. Still no a good argument.

        March 27, 2013 at 6:15 pm |
      • Crys

        Nope. Still not a good argument.

        March 27, 2013 at 6:15 pm |
  6. Eric

    Who owns the word marriage? If you are arguing for something like the traditional sense of a Biblical marriage than fight for that, but you would need to start fighting for polyagmy, the abolition of divorce, death for adulters, and the family deciding who their children will marry. Traditional Biblical marriages have been changing for many years.

    March 27, 2013 at 2:29 pm | Reply
  7. Hot Tip

    This is great!!! so many options they can choose to live in without changing the US. win, win!!

    March 27, 2013 at 2:39 pm | Reply
  8. Cal Newlan

    Sodomites should have to pay a special AIDS treatment tax.

    March 27, 2013 at 3:04 pm | Reply
    • Bill

      And christards have to pay an "I'm stupid" tax.

      March 27, 2013 at 3:34 pm | Reply
      • Cal Newlan

        AIDS monkey.

        March 27, 2013 at 7:12 pm |
    • THE ADVOCATE

      lolx but HIV is widely spread between straight people. and there are rumors that aid was created by a man who mated with a monkey lmao :D

      March 29, 2013 at 10:08 am | Reply
  9. palintwit

    A growing number of us are convinced that Sarah Palin is the only one who can heal and re-unify our country. But first she must return to her motorhome and resume her cross country tour. She will have to visit cities both large and small, being careful to speak only to real Americans, dispensing her sage advice and folksy, homespun common sense solutions. We can be a great nation again if we all follow the "Palin Path".

    March 27, 2013 at 3:23 pm | Reply
    • Hatehater

      This is sarcasm, right? Please tell me this is sarcasm.

      March 30, 2013 at 1:40 am | Reply
  10. ldb

    Let people do as they wish. There is no harm to me if 2 same gender people get married so I see no reason it should be illegal.

    March 27, 2013 at 3:35 pm | Reply
  11. Shea

    CHRISTIANS, WELCOME TO YOUR NON-CHRISTIAN AMERICA!!!! READ MY BLOG AND ENJOY THIS PERSPECTIVE!!!

    http://youropenmindedchristian.wordpress.com/

    March 27, 2013 at 3:37 pm | Reply
  12. Yakobi

    hindu filthy marriage between man and a man and woman and a woman is hinduism absurdity of hindus deniers of truth absolute of marriage, union between man and a woman, not of human, but of hindu ignorant animals, borrowed by hindus, crooks by hindu secular ism, filthy self center ism, in denial of truth absolute of nature. The truth, absolute, essence of existence.

    EPIC HISTORY OF BIRTH OF HINDUS IGNORANT S AND THEIR HINDU SECULAR ISM.
    In hindu dark ages, a woman was laying in bed, while her husband was away, she was having her lust pleasing dreams in hindu secular ism, filthy self center ism of enjoying company of her husband in bed in a hindu darkened cave, a hindu filthy languor, secular daddy of hindu hanuman, stupid monkey, secular, every hindu believes to be their god saw her moaning and took advantage of her, her husband came back and had relationship , but she had already been pregnant by hindu crook languor, filthy secular. She never told her husband of the indecent, time of child birth her husband took her to a medicine man for deliver, and waited for hours, while he heard wild noises from inside delivery cave. Finally medicine man came out of cave sweating and all bruised, her husband rushed to him, and asked about wellbeing of his wife and child, boy or a girl, medicine man could not answer, while he was trying to figure out way to explain, finally he put himself together and started to explain mystery of his child birth. AS HE STATED , RIGHT AFTER BIRTH, CHILD JUMPED AND CLUNG TO CEILING OF THE CAVE, HIM AND HIS ASSISTANT WERE TRYING HARD TO CATCH CHILD FOR S GENDER IDENTIFICATION, BUT TO NO VIALS, AFTER HOURS THEY GAVE UP.
    Child of hindu crook Languor, secular from a woman was called Bujrungbhali, meaning ruler of his own limit, a hindu secular, stupid self centered, he matted with his own half kind, hindu monkeys and donkeys, stupid secular s, self centered animals and multiplied enormously,
    Living by hindu secular ism, self center ism, kenjer ism, today his progeny claims their linage from Monkeys AND DONKEYS, stupid secular s As their maternal gods. So much so, producers of Gorge of the Jungle movie borrowed concept from inception of hindus, ignorant and made a lot of money.

    Every letter of a word has meanings of its own, seeds to grow crop of words for humanity to communicate. From seeds of letters, blocks are created and than blocks are combined to create words to communicate intentions of a person. Word ATHEIST MEANS, A SELF CENTERED, DENIER OF TRUTH ABSOLUTE, OR A PERSON CLAIMING HIMSELF TO BE TRUTH ABSOLUTE GOD, A HINDU SHAMAN, A CROOK SPEAKING BY HIS SOUL, DESIRE, NOT OF TRUTH ABSOLUTE OF A MATTER. Atheism is not of human, but in line with mind set of a animals. Following words are best example to identify Atheism.
    DOG
    Letter D, means, THE. vowel O, represents, QUANTIFIED AND Letter G is result of one s intention from his mind and heart. Sounded Ga. meaning a secular, self centered by intention in opposition to truth absolute by intention. or an atheist,
    MONKEY
    Letter M means essence or choice of an intention, Vowel O represents Quantified. Letter N means enshrined or established. Letter K identifies function of a noun. Vowel E represents unity of an adjective and a noun in essence. Letter Y means Ye, from heart and mind, base of word Yes. meaning by self choice, with dis regard to truth absolute, a Secular, self centered or an atheist,
    DONKEY
    Letter D, means THE, Vowel O means QUANTIFIED, Letter N means established or enshrined. Letter K identifies function of a noun. Vowel E represents unity of an adjective and a noun in essence. Letter Y means Ye, from heart and mind, base of word Yes. meaning by self choice, with dis regard to truth absolute, a Secular, self centered or an atheist,
    As a matter of fact, word ANIMAL means nothing else, but a atheist, self centered or denier of truth absolute.
    Atheism, self center ism is way of animals and hindrance negativity to truth absolute GOD, foundation of consti tution of USA and universe and source for existence of every thing in existence, otherwise known as constant.
    Atheism is way of hindus, deniers of truth absolute, not of human, but animals observed by pot head hindu Swamis, ignorant goons, secular, self centered by their hindu soul, filthy desire and foundation of hinduism racism of hindu dark ages.

    March 27, 2013 at 3:46 pm | Reply
  13. Dickner Moore

    I am also so confuse about this, same marriage are able to be as one(marriage) no way, God created both woman and man to be marriage, but to same gender! it is impossible. This kind of action is against God. God loves everyone, and He expect something good from us, not something stupid.... this is crazy thing. this time it is a opportunity for me to tell the world that this is against God.

    March 27, 2013 at 5:34 pm | Reply
    • Barbara

      Yeah, here's the thing: god does not make laws in the U.S. This country is NOT a theocracy. I don't believe in your god. Why should who I love and marry be any of your business at all?

      March 27, 2013 at 7:41 pm | Reply
    • THE ADVOCATE

      Your name has it.. Stop being a DICK lol.. if god loves everyone why would he hate gays for being true to themselves? and why did't he make the population equal? it is said god has created every one a soul mate right but we know males and females in our population is not balanced so its clear that god created gay couples too.

      God is not yours to judge what he likes or dislike. since the bible has not mentioned about gay coupling doesn't mean god hates them. just move out with your silly opinions. Love is love its not a matter of gender

      March 29, 2013 at 10:18 am | Reply
    • Bruce Rubin

      I think you answered your own question. If it is about God then it has to be made legal

      March 29, 2013 at 10:28 am | Reply
    • Lauren

      If "God" loved everyone, then why wouldn't he love LGBT's? Didn't "God" give us free-will to choose how we live our own lives? You have the reasoning of a 4th grader my friend.

      April 1, 2013 at 3:14 pm | Reply
  14. BoobooBear

    There are only three marriages that should be illegal: human-animal, adult-minor and incest marriages.

    March 27, 2013 at 6:45 pm | Reply
    • THE ADVOCATE

      I agree this guy :D zoophiles pedophiles and incestors are the naughty ones. don't be bad to these cute innocent lesbians and gays. :) have a big heart

      March 29, 2013 at 10:21 am | Reply
  15. Cal Newlan

    God sent AIDS to destroy the sodomite damned.

    March 27, 2013 at 7:17 pm | Reply
  16. dylan

    ok i few points.

    1. i dont care if gays get married or not. it doesn't affect my personal faith, and has no bearing on whether or not i believe it is right (which i do not)

    2. if you are going to be atheist (really you should be using the term agnostic, but thats a discussion for later) please at least study what you claim is such "nonsense" and "illogical" being atheist doesn't make you more intelligent than i am, in actuality it shows you have no grasp of logic. think, just for a second.

    to believe in evolution (completely retarded and illogical in and of itself, but whatever) you must also believe in the big bang theory, meaning that evolution IS NOT a theory capable of explaining how the universe was brought into being. TBBT? completely illogical for a number of reasons.

    1. please explain to me how cosmic vapors could possibly combust in a vacuum wherein no oxygen exists.
    2. how would said explosion create life?
    3. where did these vapors come from? because, according to science, matter can neither be created nor destroyed, therein atheists and darwinian believers make the assumption those vapors, or the matter that created them has no progenitor. logic then dictates that by your own reasoning (that vapors or matter have no progenitor) intelligent design is also feasible.
    4. once the assumption is made, it comes down to the more logical of the choices. random vapors combusting in a vacuum devoid of oxygen? can't happen. explosions creating rock and water along with gravitational fields to span even the known universe? not logically feasible. said explosions creating a polarized planet with the exact orbit, revolution cycle, atmospheric qualities, gas mixes, etc. required to sustain life? come on. said explosions also creating a lifeform (with no mitochondria, which means no reproduction) that then somehow duplicated, mutated, and evolved innumerable amount of times to create all species?

    or an omnipotent force creating all thorugh very precise detail?

    now you tell me which is more illogical.

    March 27, 2013 at 9:46 pm | Reply
  17. gregf

    the true is that the world have miss it,if people like let them do what ever them want God word stand forever,

    March 29, 2013 at 4:06 am | Reply
  18. THE ADVOCATE

    We live in a modern world not. stop being an orthodox. its not the old world where people would burn alive others that were different accusing them as witches or demons. it has been proved long ago that being gay is not a mental disorder. so why make it a religious issue? accepting gay community doesn't ruin humanity nor gods love. just give them a space.

    Gays are also humans. if they don't hurt anybody why do you anti-gays are so worried? just care about your own lives. because you people have more holes in your lives.

    March 29, 2013 at 10:39 am | Reply
  19. Maureen

    These religious arguments remind me of all the nonsense published some 60 years ago when people believed it was a sin/abomination for whites and blacks to marry...or to live in the same barracks. The same type of irrational thought and beliefs were put forward as evidence that the mixing of the "races" would bring down humankind. Sigh...have we not learned anything?

    March 30, 2013 at 8:14 am | Reply
  20. Anthony T

    I am gay. I love another man. I'm not hurting others. I am no child molester. I am not a pedophile. I am a professional. I am a brother. I'm an uncle. My family supports me. My family loves me. My partner loves me. I am monogamous. I've been in a long term relationship for 6 years now. I have a dog. I eat. I drink. I sleep. I go to work. I pray. I listen to music. I am gay. How am I different from you again? Equality. Love. Understanding. Peace.

    March 30, 2013 at 1:07 pm | Reply
    • gaysRdisgusting!!

      You're a sick sausage loving POS.

      March 30, 2013 at 10:16 pm | Reply
      • Jean

        Seems like your a one sentence wonder. Get some mental health treatment immediately.

        March 30, 2013 at 10:45 pm |
  21. gaysRdisgusting!!

    Gays are disgusting sausage rear end loving POS. No gay marriage should be allowed nor should any gays. Gays are just plain nasty POS freaks.

    March 30, 2013 at 10:15 pm | Reply
    • Jean

      Your thoughts and language are very disturbing and disgusting. A mind is a terrible thing to waste.

      March 30, 2013 at 10:44 pm | Reply
  22. Jean

    I absolutely believe that the US Supreme Court should recognize gay marriage. I am not gay, but fully support and believe this to a human right. In Massachusetts where I live, gay marriage has been legal now for a few years and you know what? Nothing, absolutely nothing about gay marriage has affected my life, in fact I went to first gay marriage last year and it was wonderful to see two people who loved one another share their commitment with those that loved them.

    March 30, 2013 at 10:43 pm | Reply
  23. BENJAMIN SAMUEL

    gay iz immoral

    March 31, 2013 at 2:48 am | Reply
    • Judy

      How can it be immoral if you were born this way. I think it is your thought process that is immoral.

      April 1, 2013 at 10:01 am | Reply
  24. Judy

    If you are born white, black, jewish, buddhist, christian, pretty, ugly,disabled, etc. (you see where this is going), would you think it is fair to not give those people the right to marry because of how they were born. Of course not. Why don't people realize it is the same exact thing. People who are born gay are people who should have the same rights as anyone. They are good hardworking citizens, who love like everyone else. Stop treating these human beings as less than everyone else. Criminals are given more rights than them. Is that fair. Does it even make sense. One day when we're all standing in front of our maker, He (or She) will look at all of you and say, I made everyone in my image and love everyone equally. He will be ashamed of all who pass judgement and feel they are superior in any way or more deserving.

    March 31, 2013 at 7:40 pm | Reply
  25. Lauren

    I think it's funny how some (not all) Christians are so judgmental. Does is it not say in the bible, "“Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye." LGBT's are human beings like everyone of us. Saying that they don't deserve the right to be together with the one they love is unethical and immoral.

    April 1, 2013 at 3:10 pm | Reply
  26. Of course it should be legalized.

    The fact that there is even a question shows how little people here can think critically. I love America, I love being Christian, but sometimes...I just want to scream because of this issue in particular. Grant equal rights. Done.

    April 2, 2013 at 2:52 am | Reply
  27. invincibleking

    I would recommend the Supreme Court not to allow this relationship or grant gay/lesbian marriages legal status. This would effect or destroy in one way or another the rich American Culture which it has developed in centuries. Let us all not destroy it with our own hands.

    April 25, 2013 at 6:40 am | Reply
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