Gay marriage around the world
June 26th, 2013
10:23 AM ET

Gay marriage around the world

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

The U.S. Supreme Court has handed down a ruling in one of two key cases before it on the issue of same-sex marriage. CNN reported Wednesday morning that a divided Supreme Court “struck down a key part of congressional law that denies to legally married same-sex couples the same benefits provided to heterosexual spouses.”

The decision follows last year’s announcement by President Barack Obama that he now supports same-sex marriage, remarks that set 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.

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, Canada, South Africa, Belgium and Spain. Nearly 20 other countries offer some rights to same-sex couples but stop short of marriage – including Germany.

More from CNN: Who will legalize same-sex marriage next?

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.

And in May, French Prime Minister Francois Hollande signed a law allowing same sex marriage, a decision that sparked controversy and huge rallies by opponents of the new legislation.

More from CNN: Read the Supreme Court DOMA ruling

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

Brazil – 2013

France – 2013

What's your take? Should the Supreme Court now back gay marriage? Should states be allowed to decide for themselves? Is your country likely to pass similar legislation? 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.

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soundoff (61 Responses)
  1. alyca

    Shouldn't New Zealand be on this list????

    June 26, 2013 at 11:28 am |
    • estemonte

      Yes, and Uruguay.

      June 26, 2013 at 12:10 pm |
      • Tony

        Yes they should,

        July 4, 2013 at 7:24 am |
  2. anonymous

    It is legal in India declared by Indian Supreme Court . I am not sure why it isn't mentioned here.

    June 26, 2013 at 12:10 pm |
    • sara

      because they would lynch you in india if you even dared to come out in public

      June 26, 2013 at 10:08 pm |
      • De

        Don't talk rubbish, sara. It just reveals your ignorance and trailer trash life. No one lynches anyone in india for being gay. There are 11M gays who are out. With clubs and bars. Open up your mind, you racist pot smoker; before you guys shoot one another. hahahhaa... It is worse in texas than in india.

        June 26, 2013 at 11:02 pm |
  3. Lyels

    I would want it to be legal across the US because they are behind the ball on this issue, but don't force religeous leaders to do the ceremonies if they do not believe in it, just make it to where they reap federal benefits and it's recognized as a legel marriage

    June 26, 2013 at 12:30 pm |
    • Tony

      I believe recognition is the pivotal point of this debate and ruling. Churches can choose to do whatever they wish; however, courthouses cannot.

      July 4, 2013 at 7:26 am |
  4. John the Historian

    This is a great day but the battle continues. They should have Gay marriage throughout the USA. But with DOMA gone it will now come. Out of staters will now marry in the 13 states where it is legal. The 7 states that have civil unions will now get Gay marriage and Nevada, Oregon, New Jersey, Pennyslvania, Wisconsin, Hawaii, New Mexico, Michigan, and Arizona will join as well. As for the Plain States and the deep South the Supreme Court will force them down the road.

    June 26, 2013 at 12:40 pm |
    • JB

      A sad day for marriage and America period! As always with progressives (aka liberals), you are slowly dismantling American society in the name of rights, but most are unwilling to do anything to defend those rights.

      June 26, 2013 at 1:37 pm |
      • Hahahahahahahah

        You voted for Palin. Now shut up and ponder that a bit more. Hahahahahahahaha

        June 26, 2013 at 1:51 pm |
      • patrick

        the only reason gay marriage is illegal is religion. and its 2013. religion has nothing to do with peoples rights. there is only the real world when it comes to policy. people like you are why progress happens so slowly, but its these peoples one, and only lives you affect. great day for america, but still not enough.

        June 26, 2013 at 2:01 pm |
      • wow

        A great day for marriage. Love is love, no matter it be 2 men, 2 women, 5 women and men, or a man and a woman together. Black or white, Asian or Hispanic, love is love. Maybe you should go back to your little cave and thump your bible a bit more before you speak.

        June 26, 2013 at 2:04 pm |
      • sft

        Why do you think you have a right to force your view of morality on the entire population?

        June 26, 2013 at 3:15 pm |
      • Bob

        So according to Wow, if you are in jail for polygamy you need to file your appeal now. Of course, he may be one of those "everything is love" guys that hangs around at the elementary school looking for dates.

        June 26, 2013 at 3:44 pm |
      • TJ

        What's the matter? Realizing now that the prejudice are now the minority?

        June 26, 2013 at 9:27 pm |
      • tarura

        This is a reply to patrick.

        The reason gay marriage should be illegal is BIOLOGY. When you convince biology that gays can procreate between themselves, it will become legal and acceptable. Until that time it's lust and/or deviation. Enough said

        June 27, 2013 at 9:45 am |
      • AG

        Tarura – not that tired old argument again. When I applied for my marriage license, they did not require fertility tests.

        June 28, 2013 at 10:26 am |
      • Tony

        I am a proud American based on the Supreme Court's ruling; it granted rights versus taking anything away. Had the decision gone in the opposite direction and I were to criticize it I would immediately be labeled "unpatriotic;" however, since the decision was in favor of gay marriage opponents feel free to voice their views without any talk of being unpatriotic. Such standards (double standards) do not and have never made logical sense aside from pulling a party line.

        July 4, 2013 at 7:32 am |
      • Tony

        To LAURA, the bible clearly states in Matthew 7:1-5 "Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use will be measured against you." It appears to me that God is the judge of person's, not individuals on earth so go repent your sins of judgement or you are in trouble on your judgement day with Christ.

        July 4, 2013 at 7:38 am |
  5. Epacific

    Gay marriage was approved by the courts in Nepal in 2008 (first South Asian nation), however, it has not been enacted in a low yet – which is probably why it isn't on this list along with several other countries in a similar position.

    June 26, 2013 at 12:52 pm |
  6. The GOP Solution

    Turn all the Old, Sick, Poor, Non-white, Non-christian, and Gay people into slaves. Then whip them until they are Young, Healthy, Rich, White, Christian, and Straight. Or until they are dead. Then turn them into Soylent Green to feed the military.

    June 26, 2013 at 1:54 pm |
  7. dwight

    The mormons are next in line for multiple marriage rights, then incestual couples, then children/adult couples, ad nauseum, otherwise it is discrimination of numbers, blood relationship and age.

    June 26, 2013 at 2:33 pm |
    • kirshy

      you are right, except for the age part. thus the term "consenting adults".

      June 26, 2013 at 3:05 pm |
    • jimmie

      my dear Dwight....what planet are you on?

      June 27, 2013 at 8:14 am |
  8. joe

    A "worldwide" summary, if Asia and Africa don't exist.

    June 26, 2013 at 4:10 pm |
    • Ken from FL

      Don't forget the Middle East; probably safe to assume that gay marriage is probably not going to happen there.

      June 26, 2013 at 4:51 pm |
  9. George

    I would love to see marriage equality across the world! Also, I would like to see the people of each state and nation vote for it, so they would feel they have majority ownership in it.

    June 26, 2013 at 4:34 pm |
  10. captain hindsight

    i have a good guess what westboro baptist church thinks of these new rulings.

    June 26, 2013 at 4:54 pm |
  11. mike

    It's so disgusting to see couples rejoicing on their unnatural actions. We have Reagan to blame. He appointed O'Connor who voted for sodomy, and he appointed Kennedy that also endorsed it. And, before you throw religion at me, I don't belong to any denomination.

    June 26, 2013 at 5:20 pm |
    • uh, no

      Mikey, you belong to the denomination of intolerance. It has chapters worldwide and members tend to reside for life. I feel sorry for you.

      June 26, 2013 at 6:10 pm |
  12. the Golden Rule

    Don't want to drive a Jaguar? Don't drive one but don't ban Jaguars. Don't think eating donuts is healthy? Don't eat them but don't ban them either. Don't want to marry someone of the same gender? Don't! Don't tell anyone else who to marry/not marry aside from being a consenting adult. I don't like polygyny or polyandry so...I'm not going to choose that but I'm not going to stop someone else from choosing it. Don't like cannabis? Do you want me to continue to vote BAN IT? Oh no, now you say "be tolerant". Think people! and do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

    June 26, 2013 at 6:16 pm |
  13. Christian Sailor

    The bottom line issue is MONEY. All this is being done for money. The Gay people want tax and other monetary benefits and in the process are trying to redefine marriage. In my opinion, if these people want monetary benefits give it to them and instead of redefining the age old definition of marriage, why does not the Supreme Court allow a tax rule which will allow gay partners have the tax benefits. Based on what I know a gay person introduces their gay friend as a partner and not as a husband or wife.......So why not call them gay partner and stop this redefinition of marriage.

    June 26, 2013 at 7:29 pm |
    • Popeye

      I bet you like it on the poop deck there huh sailor 😉

      June 26, 2013 at 10:48 pm |
    • AG

      Um, Sailor? The reason they introduce their partner as a "partner" is because they're not married. Straight unmarried couples often use that term, too. Once they're married, they'll use the terms "husband," "wife" or "spouse."

      It's not that complicated.

      June 28, 2013 at 10:24 am |
  14. Angel Molina

    I now know why the Dinosaurs disappeared. they became gays so they could not proliferate or have baby dinosaurs until the gay dinosaurs made the traditional ones came in extinction. Now animals lovers, is time to find the partner for your gay dog?

    June 26, 2013 at 11:03 pm |
    • Blue

      and that gay dog seems to be you.

      June 26, 2013 at 11:49 pm |
  15. matt daemon

    kia ora New Zealand!!!!!!

    June 27, 2013 at 3:55 am |
  16. Trumpet

    Some folks never believe there's been any Supreme Being like God–they have diverse definitions including Scientific disillusioned facts on how the earth and everything inside came to be. Well, for one more time there's God who's beyond religion and He's slow to Anger. Nat Geo Channel once showed the land inhabited by the Sodom and Gomorrah in our time still not occupied not even by any tree. From all indications the end of all these madness and razzmatazz is here--man sleeping with beast, father sleeping with daughter,climate change,economic turmoil,wide-spread of protest by nations of the world,single currency introduction,mid-east peace talk and all sorts are GREAT signs in the the book of Revelation. With all due respect I humbly ask the GAY folks if our fathers did not marry our mothers who would have brought forth they and their so called partners???
    It was TRAGIC and SAD day for USA. America should stand firm in these last days!

    June 27, 2013 at 5:56 am |
    • Sherry

      I agree with you Trumpet. This is not the way the Lord would have it. I really feel sorry for all of you.

      June 27, 2013 at 7:46 am |
    • Hey retard.

      When your God murders a whole bunch of humans, isn't that a HUGE sin in your book??? More so than being "created" gay by your GOD?

      June 28, 2013 at 9:30 am |
  17. Agapatos

    The elephant in the room that no one is talking about is that when gays get the right to marry . . . they don't. (I'm talking <5% of even "committed" gay couples marrying when given the right. )

    June 27, 2013 at 7:06 am |
    • AG

      I think once they can get all the benefits associated with marriage, that will probably change. I can understand why they wouldn't have bothered to have a legally second-class marriage.

      June 28, 2013 at 10:33 am |
  18. troy

    Doesn't really matter. Even if legal, there will still be those people who don't agree. If you don't like it don't associate with the one you don't like.

    June 27, 2013 at 8:01 am |
    • Tony

      That is he only way to survive our culture!

      July 4, 2013 at 7:41 am |
  19. Jay

    What's wrong with pedophilia, honestly? What if the little one really enjoys it? What if he says he truly "loves" the one who is truly abusing him? Who are we to say it isn't right if he really likes it? He has a right to the pursuit of happiness however he defines it, doesn't he? It is his right, is it not? Who are we to say it isn't good for him, if he thinks it is? Who determines what is right and what is wrong anyway? What do those words even mean? What is the foundation of morality? The perception of the majority? Are these questions seriously not even part of any of these discussions anymore? This is a serious question. There were societies where pedophila was commonly accepted and even praised, e.g., ancient Greece...

    June 27, 2013 at 8:36 am |
    • Really?

      o.0........ It's illegal enough said... unless you are one yourself and here to promote it?! The US really have too many nuts...

      June 27, 2013 at 10:04 am |
    • a normal person

      you have alot of issues " I hope you go to jail you freak"

      June 27, 2013 at 2:58 pm |
  20. Bill Harris

    So 15 of 192 countries have made gay marriage lega. Thanks, but I'll stick with the rest of the world.

    Not "h8-in", just "w8-in" for the world to regain its senses ...

    June 27, 2013 at 9:20 am |
  21. Joseph

    If we say we believe in freedom of religion that means no one group or religion can dictate or impose their ideology onto the others. They cannot dictate how a person of another faith or belief should believe or act. Each person is free to practice the life style and faith they believe in. Each person is free to disagree without limiting the others right to live their life as they choose. I have never been hurt by a persons’ choice to be gay or straight. I am amazed at those who believe they are patriots of freedom but they want to limit or take away the rights of others to choose for themselves. They want everyone to believe and live as they do. The freedom of personal choice is the basis of all freedoms.

    June 27, 2013 at 12:49 pm |
  22. Andrey

    Crab-people, crab-people, crab-people..

    June 27, 2013 at 1:49 pm |
  23. Adrigwe Innocent Elioba

    If Obama's trip to Africa is to preach about it then he has lost, We will not tolerate them here in Uganda, Donors take away your aid if its tagged with gay we will still leave, Remember we have never even ones thought of exporting our culture to your place, so stay with yours and we stay with ours

    June 28, 2013 at 10:52 am |
    • AgelessOne

      Bravo!!!! and kudos to those who keep the invasion of corruption out of their societies. Bless you for your righteous efforts..

      June 30, 2013 at 12:35 am |
  24. JD

    The "Land of the Free" should not be behind South Africa & most of South America on an issue. But the ignorant hypocritical bigots are losing more and more support every day, so it won't be too much longer.

    July 2, 2013 at 1:30 pm |
  25. GrumpyOldWomen

    I need some explanation I guess.... we condone murder which is the taking of someone's life, yet its okay to be 'gay' where you create nothing.

    July 25, 2013 at 6:06 pm |
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