Timeline of same-sex marriage
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This page contains a timeline of significant events regarding same-sex marriage and legal recognition of same-sex couples worldwide. It begins with the history of same-sex unions during ancient times, which consisted of unions ranging from informal and temporary relationships to highly ritualized unions, and continues to modern-day state-recognized same-sex marriage. Events concerning same-sex marriages becoming legal in a country or in a country's state are listed in bold.
- 1 Ancient times
- 2 1970s
- 3 1980s
- 4 1990s
- 5 2000s
- 6 2010s
- 7 See also
- 8 References
Cicero mentions the marriage (using the Latin verb for "to marry", i.e. nubere) of the son of Curio the Elder, but he does it in a metaphorical form to criticize his enemy Antonius. Cicero states thus that the younger Curio was "united in a stable and permanent marriage" to Antonius. Martial also mentions a number of same-sex marriages, but always in derisory terms against people whom he wants to mock.
Practices and rituals for same sex unions were more recognized in Mesopotamia than in ancient Egypt. In ancient Assyria, there was nothing wrong with homosexual love between men. The Almanac of Incantations contained prayers giving equal standing to the love of a man for both a woman and a man.
At least two of the Roman Emperors were in same-sex unions; and in fact, thirteen out of the first fourteen Roman Emperors held to be bisexual or exclusively homosexual. The first Roman emperor to have married a man was Nero, who is reported to have married two other men on different occasions. First with one of his freedman, Pythagoras, to whom Nero took the role of the bride, and later as a groom Nero married a young boy, who resembled one of his concubines, named Sporus.
Adolescent 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.
These same-sex marriages continued until Christianity became the official religion of the Roman Empire. A law in the Theodosian Code (C. Th. 9.7.3) was issued in 342 AD by the Christian emperors Constantius II and Constans. This law prohibited same-sex marriage in ancient Rome and ordered that those who were so married were to be executed.
In the Middle Ages, a same-sex marriage between the two men Pedro Díaz and Muño Vandilaz in the Galician municipality of Rairiz de Veiga in Spain occurred on 16 April 1061. They were married by a priest at a small chapel. The historic documents about the church wedding were found at Monastery of San Salvador de Celanova.
In ancient India same-sex marriage was more common. One example being a Princess named Shikhandi (born Shikhandini) who was married off to another princess by her father King Drupada. According to traditions in South India, Krishna married Iravan to fulfill one of his three last wishes.
The Siwa Oasis in Egypt had an historical acceptance of male homosexuality and even rituals of same-sex marriage — traditions that Egyptian authorities have sought to repress, with increasing success, since the early 20th century. The German egyptologist George Steindorff explored the oasis in the year 1900 and reported that homosexual relations were common and often extended to a form of marriage
- On May 18, 1970, two University of Minnesota students, Richard John 'Jack' Baker and James Michael McConnell applied to Hennepin County District Court clerk Gerald Nelson for a marriage license. He denied the application, because the applicants both were men. Baker and McConnell sued Nelson, claiming Minnesota law on marriage made no mention of gender. The trial court was not impressed with the argument, agreeing with Nelson. The state Supreme Court agreed with the lower court. When Baker-McConnell went to the U.S. Supreme Court, the couple was rebuffed again.
- October 15: The Supreme Court of the US state of Minnesota upholds the decision of a lower court that denying a marriage license to a same-sex couple did not violate the U.S. Constitution." This was in reference to a marriage application filed by activist Jack Baker and Michael McConnell in 1970, which garnered extensive media attention. An appeal of that decision ended when the U.S. Supreme Court accepted the case as required by a law in effect but then dismissed it "for want of a substantial federal question". (see Baker v. Nelson). Until 1973, there was no restriction on gender in any marriage statute in any state within the U.S.
- January 1: Maryland becomes the first state in the US to statutorily ban same-sex marriage. In the following two decades, other states joined Maryland in statutorily banning same-sex marriage, reaching almost the totality of US states by 1994.
- May 20: Singer v. Hara, a lawsuit filed by John F. Singer and Paul Barwick after being refused a request for a marriage license at the King County Administration Building in Seattle, Washington on 20 September 1971, ends with a unanimous rejection by the Washington State Court of Appeals.
- June: The Netherlands adopts an "Unregistered Cohabitation" scheme as a civil status in rent law, becoming the first country in the world where same-sex couples could apply for limited rights.
- October 1: Denmark becomes the first country in the world to legally recognize same-sex unions, after passing a bill legalizing "registered partnerships" in a 71–47 vote.
- April 30: Norway approves a registered partnerships bill, becoming the second country in the world (after Denmark) to provide legal recognition for same-sex couples. It came into effect on 1 August.
- May 5: The Supreme Court of the US state of Hawaii rules in Baehr v. Lewin that the Hawaii state statute limiting marriage to opposite-sex couples is presumed to be unconstitutional unless the state can present a "compelling state interest" justifying the same-sex marriage ban.
- June 23: The Parliament of Sweden approves a registered partnerships bill in a 171–141 vote. It became legal on 1 January 1995.
- April 26: Greenland adopts Denmark's registered partnership law.
- June: The Parliament of Iceland legalizes registered partnerships in a 44–1 vote.
- September 21: President Bill Clinton of the United States signs the Defense of Marriage Act into law, which bans the federal Government from recognizing same-sex unions.
- July 5: The Netherlands passes a registered partnerships bill. It became law on 1 January 1998.
- November 3: Hawaii and Alaska become the first US states to pass constitutional amendments against same-sex marriage. Other US states followed suit and passed similar amendments in the following years, reaching a peak of 31 in 2012. For more information, refer to U.S. state constitutional amendments banning same-sex unions.
- January 12: Belgium approves a registered partnerships bill. It became law on 1 January 2000.
- September 22: Governor Gray Davis from the US state of California signs a domestic partnerships bill into law that provided limited rights for same-sex couples.
- November 15: The Parliament of France approves legislation (art. 515-1 et s. Code civil) that:
- creates a relationship register for both gay and straight couples (called "Pacte civil de solidarité" abbreviated as "PaCS"); and
- redefines the non-registered partnership as the stable union between two adults regardless of their gender (before this law, previous decisions of the French highest Court ruled that there could be no couple without appearance of marriage, therefore excluding gay people from any vision of family).
- December 20: The Supreme Court of the US state of Vermont holds in Baker v. Vermont that excluding same-sex couples from marriage violates the Vermont Constitution and orders the legislature to establish same-sex marriage or an equivalent status.
- April 26: Governor Howard Dean from the US state of Vermont signs a civil unions bill into law after the state's Supreme Court ruled that same-sex couples were entitled to the same rights as opposite sex couples, thus making Vermont the first state in the U.S. to give full marriage rights to same-sex couples. It became law on 1 July.
- November: Germany approves a bill to legalize "Life partnerships". It became law on 1 August 2001.
- December 21: Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands signs into law the first same-sex marriage bill in the world. It had previously cleared the country's Senate on 19 December in a 49–26 vote and the House of Representatives on 12 September in a 109–33 vote. The law came into effect on 1 April 2001.
- January 14: Two same-sex marriages are performed in Ontario, Canada. Although registration of the marriages was initially denied, a successful court challenge upheld their legality on 10 June 2003, thus retroactively making them the first legal same-sex marriages in modern times.
- April 1: Laws that permit marriage for same-sex couples and grant same-sex couples adoption rights in the Netherlands come into effect. Four same-sex couples are married at the stroke of midnight by the Mayor of Amsterdam.
- September 28: The Parliament of Finland approves a Registered Partnerships bill in a 99–84 vote. The law came into effect on 1 March 2002.
- February 13: King Albert II of Belgium signs a bill legalizing same-sex marriage into law, making Belgium the second country in the world to legalize civil marriage for same-sex couples, after the Netherlands. The bill previously passed the Chamber of Representatives in a 91–22 vote on 30 January 2003 and the Senate in a 46–15 vote on 13 December 2002. It came into effect on 1 June.
- May 1: The British Columbia Court of Appeal becomes the first provincial court of appeal to rule that the Canadian government must legally recognize same-sex marriage.
- June 10: A court of appeals in Canada legalizes same-sex marriage in the province Ontario, ruling that restricting marriage to heterosexual couples contravened the equality provisions in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Thus, making Ontario the first jurisdiction in the Americas to legalize same-sex marriages.
- September 17: A registered partnership bill receives Royal Assent in Tasmania, Australia. It was previously approved by the state Legislative Council on 27 August and by the state House of Assembly on 25 June. It came into effect on 1 January 2004.
- November 18: The Supreme Court of the US state of Massachusetts orders the Legislature to open marriage to same-sex couples in the landmark Goodridge v. Department of Public Health ruling. The Court also rules that if the Legislature fails to do so in 180 days, same-sex couples will be able to marry without any impediment.
- January 12: The Legislature of the US state of New Jersey passes a registered partnerships bill. It came into effect on 10 July.
- February/March: A number of jurisdictions in the U.S. begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, including San Francisco, California (12 February), Sandoval County, New Mexico (20 February), New Paltz, New York (27 February), Multnomah County, Oregon (3 March) and Asbury Park, New Jersey (9 March). The licenses were later nullified (not necessarily in Sandoval County, New Mexico).
- April: The US state of Maine adopts a registered partnerships bill. The law came into effect on 30 July.
- May 12: The Parliament of Luxembourg approves a civil partnerships bill. It came into effect on 1 November.
- May 17: Same-sex marriage becomes legal in the US state of Massachusetts after the Legislature failed to take any action in the 180 days period given by the state's Supreme Court. It became the first US state to legalize same-sex marriage.
- November 5: A judge in Saskatchewan, Canada, rules that same-sex couples must enjoy the right to equal marriage in that province.
- November 17: United Kingdom's parliament legalizes civil partnerships for same-sex couples. The bill received Royal Assent the next day and it took effect on 5 December 2005.
- November 30: The Supreme Court of Appeal of South Africa rules that the common law concept of marriage must be extended to include same-sex couples.
- December 8: The government of Israel indicates that it will recognize same-sex partnerships for certain benefits.
- December 8: The Parliament of New Zealand approves a civil unions law by a vote of 65 to 55. The bill came into effect on 26 April 2005.
- March 23: The Principality of Andorra legalizes same-sex unions.
- April 20: Governor Jodi Rell from the US State of Connecticut signs a same-sex civil unions bill into law after passing the State Senate 26 to 8 earlier that day. The bill was previously approved on 13 April by the State House of Representatives in an 85–63 vote. It came into effect on 1 October.
- June 5: A registered partnership law is approved in Switzerland by 58 percent of voters after opponents organized a ballot measure. It came into effect on 1 January 2007.
- June 22: A registered partnerships bill is approved in Slovenia giving same-sex couples limited rights. It came into effect on 23 July 2006.
- June 23: A judge in New Brunswick, Canada, rules that same-sex couples have the right to equal marriage in that province.
- June 30: The Congress of Deputies of Spain passes a same-sex marriage bill for a second time, overruling the rejection of the Spanish Senate a week before. The law took effect on 3 July, after it was publicized in the official government registry. King Juan Carlos I granted the law Royal Assent the day after passage.
- July 19: The Senate of Canada legalizes same-sex marriage, making Canada the first country in the Americas to legalize same-sex marriage. It became law on 20 July after receiving Royal Assent. Eight of ten provinces and one of three territories in Canada already allowed same-sex marriage before being recognized federally.
- December 1: In the case of Minister of Home Affairs v Fourie, the Constitutional Court of South Africa unanimously finds the restriction of marriage to opposite-sex couples to be unconstitutional, giving the country's Parliament one year to introduce same-sex marriage.
- March 15: The Czech Republic's parliament passes a registered partnership law with 101 votes (out of 177) overriding President Václav Klaus, who previously vetoed the law on 16 February after it was approved by the lower and upper house on 2005. The law came into effect on 1 July.
- May 18: King Albert II of Belgium signs a bill allowing adoption by same-sex couples into law after it was approved by the country's Senate on 20 April in a 34–33 vote.
- October 25: The Supreme Court of the US state of New Jersey unanimously rules in favor of marriage equality; 4–3 give the legislature six months to legalize same-sex marriage or civil unions. The three dissenting justices dissented because they believed same-sex couples should have the full right to marry.
- November 9: The Legislative Assembly of Mexico City passes a civil union law, making it the first jurisdiction in Latin America to legally recognize same-sex unions.
- November 21: Israel's supreme court rules that same-sex marriages performed abroad will be formally registered by the Israeli Interior Ministry. This ruling makes equal the status of same-sex couples and other Israeli couples who cannot be married by the formal religious institutions in Israel (e.g. couples from different religions).
- November 29: Deputy President Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka of South Africa signs the Civil Union Act into law, legalising same-sex marriage. The bill was passed by the National Assembly in a 229–41 vote on 14 November, and 36–11 by the National Council of Provinces on 28 November. The first wedding took place on 1 December.
- December 7: The Parliament of Canada rejects Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s motion to re-open the equal marriage debate. The motion was defeated 175–123, and every political party had more MPs supporting same-sex marriage than in the previous vote. The prime minister declared the issue "settled".
- December 21: Governor Jon Corzine from the US state of New Jersey signs a bill legalizing civil unions into law. It took effect on 19 February 2007.
- January 12: The Mexican state of Coahuila legalizes civil unions, being the first state to do so in Mexico and the second entity (after Mexico D.F.).
- April 21: Governor Chris Gregoire from the US state of Washington signs a domestic partnerships bill into law. It came into effect on 22 July.
- May 9: Governor Ted Kulongoski from the US state of Oregon signs a domestic partnerships bill into law. It came into effect on 1 February 2008.
- May 31: Governor John Lynch from the US state of New Hampshire signs a civil unions bill into law. It came into effect on 1 January 2008.
- August 30: A court of the US state of Iowa strikes down its ban on same-sex marriage as a result of a legal challenge. About 20 couples obtained marriage licenses and one couple married before the judge issued a stay of his ruling pending appeal.
- December 27: President Tabaré Vázquez of Uruguay signs a civil unions bill into law, becoming the first country in Latin America to approve a law giving legal recognition to same-sex couples. The bill was previously approved by the country's legislature on 19 December. It came into effect on 1 January 2008.
- April 15: A bill legalizing registered relationships receives Royal Assent in Victoria, Australia. It was previously approved by the State Legislative Council on 10 April and by the State Legislative Assembly on 12 March. The law came into effect on 1 December.
- May 8: The Legislative Assembly of the ACT, Australia, passes a bill legalizing civil partnerships for same-sex couples. It came into effect on 19 May.
- May 15: The Supreme Court of the US state of California legalizes same-sex marriage in the landmark In re Marriage Cases ruling. The ruling took effect on 16 June.
- May 22: Governor Martin O'Malley of the US state of Maryland signs into law two bills legalizing domestic partnerships. They came into effect on 1 July.
- May 29: Governor David Paterson from the US state of New York signs an executive order mandating state agencies to recognize same-sex marriages performed out-of-state equally under the law. New York thus became the first US state that didn't allow same-sex marriages, but whose state agencies recognized same-sex marriages performed elsewhere.
- June 17: Norway's upper house legalizes same-sex marriage in a 23–17 vote. The bill was previously approved by the lower house on 11 June in an 84–41 vote. It came into effect on 1 January 2009.
- September 28: Ecuador's new Constitution is approved by 63.9% of voters, legalizing civil unions for same-sex couples. The country's first same-sex civil union was performed performed on 12 August 2009.
- October 10: The Supreme Court of the US state of Connecticut legalizes same-sex marriage in the landmark Kerrigan and Mock v. Connecticut Department of Public Health ruling. Same-sex weddings started on 12 November.
- November 4: A referendum seeking to constitutionally ban same-sex marriages in the US state of California is approved by 52.2% of voters; thus overturning same-sex marriage in California, this event being noteworthy because it has been the only time in modern history that same-sex marriage has been overturned.
- November 19: The Supreme Court of Nepal orders the government to legalize same-sex marriage.
- January 28: The Constitutional Court of Colombia rules that same-sex couples are entitled to the same rights as heterosexual couples in common-law marriages. The ruling means that civil and political rights such as nationality, residency, housing protection, and state benefits are now granted to same-sex partners.
- April 1: The Parliament of Sweden legalizes same-sex marriage in a 226–22 vote. The law came into effect on 1 May.
- April 3: The Supreme Court of the US state of Iowa legalizes same-sex marriage in the landmark Varnum v. Brien ruling. Same-sex weddings started on 27 April.
- April 7: The US state of Vermont legalizes same-sex marriage after a 23–5 vote in the State Senate and a 100–49 vote in the House of Representatives, overriding Governor Jim Douglas, who had vetoed the law a day earlier. The bill came into effect on 1 September.
- April 20: The Parliament of Hungary legalizes registered partnerships in a 199–159 vote. The law came into effect on 1 July.
- May 6: Governor John Baldacci from the US state of Maine signs a same-sex marriage bill into law. The bill was previously approved 89-58 by the House of Representatives a day earlier and 21-14 by the State Senate on 30 April. However, opponents organized a referendum that took place on 3 November.
- May 18: Governor Chris Gregoire from the US state of Washington signs the so-called "everything-but-marriage" registered partnerships bill into law. It was passed by the State Senate on 10 March and by the House of Representatives on 15 April. However, opponents organized a referendum that took place on 3 November.
- May 26: California Supreme Court upholds Proposition 8, constitutionally banning same-sex marriage, but rules that previously officiated same-sex marriages shall remain valid.
- May 31: The Assembly of the US state of Nevada legalizes domestic partnerships by a 28–14 vote, overriding a veto from Governor Jim Gibbons after the Senate did the same on 30 May by a 14–7 vote. The law came into effect on 1 October.
- June 3: Governor John Lynch from the US State of New Hampshire signs a bill legalizing same-sex marriage into law after being approved 14–10 by the State Senate and 198–176 by the House of Representatives. The law took effect on 1 January 2010.
- June 29: Governor Jim Doyle from the US state of Wisconsin signs into law a bill legalizing registered partnerships. The bill was previously approved by the State Assembly in a 50–48 vote on 13 June and by the State Senate in a 17–16 vote on 17 June. The law came into effect on 3 August.
- July 1: The US state of Colorado begins recognizing designated beneficiary agreements.
- July 6: The District of Columbia starts recognizing same-sex marriages performed in other US states, although same-sex marriages cannot be performed in DC itself.
- November 3: A referendum in the US state of Maine repeals an approved same-sex marriage bill before it took effect, while a referendum in the US state of Washington upholds the so-called "everything-but-marriage" registered partnerships bill, which came into effect on 3 December.
- December 18: District of Columbia Mayor Adrian Fenty signs a same-sex marriage bill into law. The bill was previously approved by the D.C. Council on 15 December. It came into effect on 3 March 2010.
- December 18: The Federal Council (upper house) of Austria's passes a bill legalizing registered partnerships in a 44–8 vote. The bill was previously passed by the National Council (lower house) on 10 December in a 110–64 vote. It came into effect on 1 January 2010.
- December 28: The first same-sex marriage in Argentina and Latin America is conducted in Ushuaia, province of Tierra del Fuego. The couple first planned to marry in Buenos Aires on 1 December after a city court ruled that it should be issued a marriage license; however, a national judge blocked the marriage from taking place in Buenos Aires. The couple successfully married in Ushuaia thanks to Governor Fabiana Ríos's intervention.
- December 29: Mexico City's Head of Government Marcelo Ebrard signs a same-sex marriage bill into law. The bill was previously approved on 21 December by the Legislative Assembly in a 39–20 vote. It took effect on 3 March 2010. Civil unions in Mexico City had been available since 2007, but full marriage was not yet recognized.
- May 17: President of Portugal Aníbal Cavaco Silva signs a same-sex marriage bill into law, making Portugal the sixth country in Europe, and eighth country overall, to legalize same-sex marriages. The country's Assembly previously approved the bill in its second reading on 11 February. It took effect on 5 June.
- May 19: A registered partnerships bill receives Royal Assent in New South Wales, Australia. The bill was previously approved by the state upper House in 12 May in a 32–5 vote and by the state lower House on 11 May in a 62–9 vote. The law came into effect on 1 July.
- June 11: The Parliament of Iceland unanimously approves a law legalizing same-sex marriage by a vote of 49–0. The law took effect on 27 June.
- June 27: Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir, Iceland's Prime minister, becomes the world's first head of government to enter a same-sex marriage.
- July 19: President Mary McAleese of Ireland signs into law a bill legalizing Civil Partnerships. It was previously passed by the Seanad in a 48–4 vote on 8 July. The law came into effect on 1 January 2011.
- July 21: President Cristina Fernandez of Argentina signs a same-sex marriage bill into law, making Argentina the first country in Latin America to legalize same-sex marriage. The bill was previously approved by the country's Senate 33-27 on 15 July and 125–109 by the Chamber of Deputies on 5 May. The first marriage took place on 30 July.
- August 4: U.S. District Court of Northern California declares that Proposition 8, a 2008 California-electorate ban on same-sex marriage, violates due process and equal protection clauses in the U.S. Constitution. Supporters of the proposition eventually appealed all the way to the Supreme Court, which issued a ruling on 2013.
- August 5: The Supreme Court of Mexico votes 8–2 to uphold the constitutionality of Mexico City's same-sex marriage law. On the following days, it also voted to mandate that all 31 states of Mexico must recognize same-sex marriages performed in other jurisdictions (on 10 August, on a 9–2 vote) and to uphold a Mexico City law permitting same-sex couples entering into marriages to adopt children (on 16 August, on a 9–2 vote).
- August 10: The Supreme Court of Costa Rica issues a 5–2 ruling to halt a referendum on same-sex civil unions which was scheduled for 5 December after stating that minority rights shouldn't be decided by the majority.
- January 10: The Court of Appeal of the province of Saskatchewan in Canada rules that marriage commissioners cannot refuse to wed same-sex couples on religious grounds.
- January 31: Governor Pat Quinn from the US state of Illinois signs a civil unions bill into law. The bill was previously approved 32–24 by the state Senate on 1 December and 61–52 by the state House of Representatives on 30 November. It came into effect on 1 June.
- February 23: Governor Neil Abercrombie from the US state of Hawaii signs a civil unions bill into law. The bill was previously approved 18–5 by the state Senate on 16 February and 31–19 by the state House of Representatives on 11 February. It came into effect on 1 January 2012.
- March 15: The Isle of Man legalizes civil partnerships. The law came into effect on 6 April.
- March 16: The Parliament of Liechtenstein passes a registered partnerships bill in a 24–0 vote. However, opponents organized a referendum that took place on 19 June.
- May 5: The Supreme Court of Justice of Brazil unanimously legalizes civil unions for same-sex couples.
- May 11: Governor Jack Markell from the US state of Delaware signs a civil unions bill into law. The bill was previously approved 26–15 by the state Assembly on 14 April and 13–6 by the state Senate on 7 April. It came into effect on 1 January 2012.
- June 19: Voters of Liechtenstein approve a registered partnerships bill by 68.8% after opponents organized a ballot measure. The law took effect on 1 September.
- June 24: Governor Andrew Cuomo from the US state of New York signs a same-sex marriage bill into law. The bill was previously approved two hours early 33–29 by the state Senate and 80–63 by the state Assembly on 5 June. It came into effect on 24 July.
- July 1: A civil unions bill in the US state of Rhode Island becomes effective, Independent Governor Lincoln Chafee signed the bill on 2 July 2011 but the law was made retroactive from 1 July 2011. The bill was previously approved 21–16 by the state Senate on 29 June and by the Assembly in a 62–11 vote on 20 May.
- July 12: A civil partnerships bill is unanimously approved in Jersey. It took effect on 2 April 2012.
- July 26: The Constitutional Court of Colombia rules that same-sex couples have the right to form a family and orders the Congress to pass legislation addressing the issue of same-sex marriage before 20 June 2013. If such a law is not passed until then, same-sex couples will be able to apply for marriage-like rights automatically.
- August 1: Same-sex marriage is in effect legalized by the Suquamish tribe in the US state of Washington for tribe members.
- October 25: The Supreme Court of Justice of Brazil rules that two women can legally be married.
- November 28: First same-sex marriages are held in Quintana Roo, Mexico, because the state's civil code doesn't state sex or gender requirements for marriage.
- November 30: The state parliament of Queensland, Australia, passes a civil partnerships bill in a 47–40 vote. The law came into effect on 23 February 2012.
- December 7: The Judicial Court of the Brazilian state of Alagoas extends marriage to same-sex couples.
- February 13: Governor Christine Gregoire from the US state of Washington signs a same-sex marriage bill into law. The bill was priorly approved 55–43 by the state House on 8 February and 28–21 by the state Senate on 1 February. However, opponents organized a referendum that took place on 6 November.
- March 1: Governor Martin O'Malley from the US state of Maryland signs a same-sex marriage bill into law. The bill was previously approved by the Senate, 25–22, on 23 February and by the House, 72–67, on 17 February. However, opponents organized a referendum that took place on 6 November.
- May 14: Governor Lincoln Chafee from the US state of Rhode Island signs an executive order to recognize same-sex marriages performed out-of-state equally under the law.
- June 7: The Parliament of Denmark legalizes same-sex marriage in an 85–24 vote, becoming the eighth country in Europe, and eleventh overall, to do it. The law came took effect on 15 June. Denmark was previously the first country to legally recognize same-sex couples through registered partnerships in 1989.
- June 10: A judicial court in Uruguay declares a foreign same-sex marriage valid, making it the first legal same-sex marriage in the country. The ruling also affirmed that local laws already permit same-sex marriage, even if they don't state it literally, and that Uruguayans married overseas can go to a judge to have their marriages recognized.
- July 5: The Judicial Court of the Brazilian state of Sergipe issued "Provimento nº 06/2012", extending marriage to same-sex couples. 
- August 15: The Judicial Court of the Brazilian state of Espírito Santo extends marriage to same-sex couples. 
- October 10: The Judicial Court of the Brazilian state of Bahia extends marriage to same-sex couples. The ruling came into effect on 26 November.
- October 10: Same-sex marriage is legalized in the Caribbean Netherlands after the Dutch Parliament passed a law extending its same-sex marriage law to the region. The first same-sex marriage was performed on Saba on 4 December 2012 between a Dutch and a Venezuelan man, both residing in Aruba.
- November 6: The Spanish Constitutional Court upholds the country's same-sex marriage law after the ruling People's Party filed a lawsuit arguing that it was unconstitutional. After the ruling, the Spanish Minister of Justice said that the government will accept the verdict and drop plans to change the law.
- November 6: Voters in the US states of Maine, Maryland, and Washington approve same-sex marriage laws in referendums, becoming the first US states to legalize same-sex marriage through this process, while voters in the US state of Minnesota become the first to reject a constitutional amendment seeking to ban same-sex marriage in their state. The laws of Washington, Maine and Maryland, came into effect on 6 December 2012, 29 December 2012 and 1 January 2013 respectively.
- November 26: The Court of the Brazilian State of Bahia extends marriage to same-sex couples.
- December 1: The Court of Public Registers of the Brazilian Federal District (DF) extends marriage to same-sex couples.
- December 5: Supreme Court of Mexico unanimously finds the same-sex marriage ban in the southern state of Oaxaca unconstitutional, paving the way for same-sex marriages nationally. Same-sex marriage is already legal in the Mexican state of Quintana Roo and in Mexico City.
- December 15: The Judicial Court of the Brazilian state of Piauí extends marriage to same-sex couples.
- December 18: The Justice Court of the Brazilian state of São Paulo extends marriage to same-sex couples. Same-sex marriages were already offered in six other Brazilian states and in the country's Federal District. The ruling came into effect on 1 March 2013.
- March 7: The Justice Court of the Brazilian state of Ceará rules, from 15 March on, that notaries statewide are required to perform same-sex marriages.
- March 9: The Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians announces recognition for same-sex marriages, entering into force 60 days later on 8 May.
- March 15: The Tribal chairman of the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians in the US state of Michigan signs a same-sex marriage amendment into law that had been previously approved by the Tribal Council in a 5–4 vote on 3 March.
- March 21: Governor John Hickenlooper from the US state of Colorado signs a civil unions bill into law. The bill was previously approved by the House of Representatives on 12 March in a 39–26 vote and by the Senate in a 21–14 vote on 11 February. It came into effect on 1 May.
- March 22: The Bundesrat of Germany passes a state-level initiative which will open marriage to same-sex couples. The bill will advance in the Bundestag where an identical bill was rejected in 2012. The legislation was proposed by 5 states of Germany.
- March 26: The Judiciary Power of the Brazilian State of Paraná extends marriage to same-sex couples.
- April 2: The Judiciary Power of the Brazilian State of Mato Grosso do Sul extends marriage to same-sex couples.
- April 10: The Chamber of Deputies of Uruguay legalizes same-sex marriage with 71 affirmative votes (out of 92) in its second reading, making Uruguay the second country in Latin America, after Argentina, and twelfth overall, to legalize same-sex marriage. The law was previously passed by the Senate on 2 April by a 23–8 vote. The bill was signed into law on 3 May 2013. It came into force on 5 August 2013.
- April 14: The Constitutional Convention of Ireland, which was charged with making recommendations to the Irish Government in respect of changes to the country's Constitution, votes overwhelmingly (79%) in favour of amending the Constitution to allow for same sex marriage. The Irish Government will respond to the decision within 4 months. An Tanaiste, Eamon Gilmore, the Deputy Prime Minister of Ireland, states in July that a referendum to introduce same sex marriage in Ireland may take place in 2014.
- April 17: The Parliament of New Zealand legalizes same-sex marriage by a 77–44 vote in the bill's third reading, making New Zealand the first country in Oceania, and thirteenth overall, to legalize same-sex marriage. The bill received Royal Assent two days later. It came into effect on 19 August 2013.
- April 17: The General Magistrate of Justice of the Brazilian state of Rio de Janeiro, Valmir de Oliveira Silva, authorizes local judges to perform same-sex marriages if they agree to do so. The ruling states that couples must register their request in the civil registry and then wait 15 days for the district to decide whether to perform it or not.
- April 26: The Judicial Court of the Brazilian state of Rondônia publishes a Provision (008/2013-CG) which extends marriage to same-sex couples and the conversion of stable unions into marriages throughout the State.
- April 29: The "Corregedoria Geral of Justiças" of the Brazilian States of both Santa Catarina and Paraíba extend marriage to same-sex couples.
- May 2: Governor Lincoln Chafee from the US state of Rhode Island signs a same-sex marriage bill into law. The bill was passed shortly before with a final 56–15 vote in the House of Representatives  and on 24 April by the state Senate in a 26–12 vote. It came into effect on 1 August 2013.
- May 7: Governor Jack Markell from the US state of Delaware signs a same-sex marriage bill into law. The bill was passed shortly before by the state Senate by a 12–9 vote and on 23 April by the House of Representatives by a 23–18 vote. It took effect on 1 July 2013.
- May 14: The Justice's National Council of Brazil legalizes same-sex marriage in the entire country by a 14–1 vote, making Brazil the third country in South America, after Argentina and Uruguay, and fifteenth in the world to legalize same-sex marriage nationwide. The Council's ruling orders all civil register of the country to grant same-sex marriages. The ruling was published on 15 May and took effect on 16 May 2013.
- May 14: Governor Mark Dayton from the US state of Minnesota signs a same-sex marriage bill into law. The bill was passed a day before by the state Senate by a 37–30 vote and on 9 May by the House of Representatives by a 75–59 vote. It came into effect on 1 August 2013.
- May 18: President François Hollande of France signs a same-sex marriage bill into law, making France the fourteenth country in the world to legalize same-sex marriage. The bill was introduced to the National Assembly by the government on 14 November 2012, who approved it by a 329–229 vote on 12 February 2013. The Bill was then sent to the Senate who approved it with amendments by a 179–157 vote on 12 April. As parts of it were changed, the Bill was thus sent back to the lower house on 17 April for a final scrutiny and passed on 23 April by a 331–225 vote. The law was validated by the Constitutional Council of France on 17 May. François Hollande, President of France, signed it into law on 18 May. It took effect on 19 May 2013, making France the thirteenth country to effectively implement same sex marriage.
- June 20: Deadline given by the Colombian Constitutional Court for Parliament to legislate on same-sex unions ends. Notaries across the country begin performing "marital contracts" for same-sex couples, however, LGBT activists advice people not to engage in those contracts as they did not exist in the country's laws. In the following days, several couples make petitions to civil judges to have their relationships recognized through marriage.
- June 24: The Santa Ysabel Tribe announce their recognition of same-sex marriage, becoming the first tribe in California to do so.
- June 26: The Supreme Court of the United States rules that supporters of Proposition 8, the same-sex marriage ban in California, lacked standing to appeal a court's 2010 decision that deemed the ban unconstitutional, thus legalizing same-sex marriage in California. Marriages resumed in the state two days later. The Supreme Court also declares Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act, the portion of the law that barred federal recognition of same-sex marriages, unconstitutional.
- July 1: Same-sex marriages begin in the US state of Delaware.
- July 17: Queen Elizabeth II gives Royal Assent to the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill, legalizing same-sex marriage in England and Wales. This occurs after the House of Lords passed the bill in a third and final reading two days before, and the amended version was approved by the House of Commons the following day.
- July 24: Colombia's first same-sex marriage takes place in Bogotá after a local judge accepted the marriage petition of a male couple.
- July 30: The Mexican state of Colima allows same-sex civil unions.
- August 1: Same-sex marriages begin in the US states of Minnesota and Rhode Island.
- August 19: Same-sex marriages begin in New Zealand.
- August 21 – September 4: Same-sex marriages begin in several New Mexico counties after a series of judicial and county clerk decisions. Counties include: Doña Ana, Santa Fe, Bernalillo, San Miguel, Valencia, Taos, Grant, and Los Alamos counties.
- October 21: State officials of the US state of New Jersey begin performing same-sex marriages. Officials were able to perform such marriages after the Supreme Court of New Jersey upheld a denial of a motion for a stay issued by a lower court in the case Garden Estate Equality v Dow.
- November 5: The Government of Ireland announces a same-sex marriage referendum to take place before the summer of 2015.
- November 13: Governor Neil Abercrombie from the US state of Hawaii signs a bill granting marriage to same-sex couples, making Hawaii the fifteenth such US state. The legislation was approved by the state Senate by a 19–4 vote on 12 November and previously by the House by a 30–19 vote on 8 November. This legislation started to be debated on 28 October 2013.
- November 20: Governor Pat Quinn from the US state of Illinois signs a bill granting marriage to same-sex couples. The legislation was previously approved by the House by a 61–54 vote on 5 November and by the Senate by a 34–21 vote on 14 February.
- November 20: The Scottish Parliament passes the Marriage and Civil Partnership Bill through the first Stage by a 98–15 vote. The bill was previously approved by the Equal Opportunities Committee.
- December 1: Croatia passes a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage and defining marriage as strictly a union between a man and woman. The amendment was passed via a referendum with 65% of voters voting for it.
- December 12: The High Court of Australia decides unanimously that a legislative act granting marriage to same-sex couples in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) "cannot operate concurrently with the federal Marriage Act 1961." The court said that such marriages have no effect under the act and that it is matter of the federal Parliament to amend the federal marriage law. The ACT passed legislation granting marriage to same-sex couples in a 9–8 party-line vote on 22 October. The first marriages were solemnized on 7 December but have been annulled as unconstitutional.
- December 19: The Supreme Court of the US state of New Mexico ordered state officials to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples in the case Griego v. Oliver.
- December 20: The U.S. District Court for Utah found the state's ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional in the case Kitchen v. Herbert.
- January 14: The U.S. District Court for Oklahoma found the state's ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional in the case Bishop v. Oklahoma.
- February 4: The Scottish Parliament approved the Marriage and Civil Partnership Bill through the third Stage by a 105-18 vote. On November 20, 2013, the Parliament passed the bill through the first stage by a 98–15 vote and then ended the second stage on January 16.
- February 10: Nevada declares that it will no longer seek to defend the state's gay marriage ban in court, after a 9th Circuit Court ruling that potential jurors cannot be removed from a trial during jury selection solely because of sexual orientation, which contained the words: "In its words and its deed, [the Supreme Court's decision in Windsor v. United States] established a level of scrutiny for classifications based on sexual orientation that is unquestionably higher than rational basis review. … In short, Windsor requires heightened scrutiny."
- February 13: The U.S. District Court for Virginia found the state's ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional in the case Bostic v. Rainey.
- February 21: The U.S. District Court for Illinois found the state's ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional in the case Lee and others v. Orr and ordered that Cook County's officials must issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Champaign County followed several days later. Illinois has already signed into law a legislation granting marriage to same-sex couples on November 20, 2013, but it is not entered into force yet.
- February 26: The U.S. District Court for Western Texas found the state's ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional in the case De Leon v. Perry.
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