Recognition of same-sex unions in North America

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State recognition of same-sex relationships in North America & Hawaii.1
  Same-sex marriage
  Other type of partnership
  Same-sex marriages recognized, but not performed
  Binding decision overturning a ban on same-sex marriage not in effect2
1May include recent laws or court decisions which have created legal recognition of same-sex relationships, but which have not entered into effect yet.
2Some states in these categories also have a ban unions similar to marriage and binding judicial rulings against bans unions similar to marriage.
Homosexuality laws in Central America and the Caribbean Islands.
  Same-sex marriage
  Other type of partnership
  Unregistered cohabitation
  Foreign same-sex marriages recognized
  No recognition of same-sex couples
  Constitution limits marriage to opposite-sex couples
  Same-sex sexual activity illegal but not enforced
  Same-sex sexual activity illegal only for males
  Same-sex sexual activity illegal for males and females
Homosexuality legislation in Lesser Antilles.
  Same-sex marriage
  Same-sex marriage only recognized
  Other type of partnership
  Unrecognized or unknown
  Same-sex sexual activity illegal but not enforced
  Same-sex sexual activity illegal
Legal status of same-sex unions
  1. When performed in Mexican states that have legalized same-sex marriage
  2. When performed in the Netherlands proper
  3. Marriages performed in some municipalities and recognized by the state

* Not yet in effect

LGBT portal

Currently, Canada and the United States[nb 1] are the only countries in North America that allow same-sex couples to marry everywhere within their boundaries. In Mexico, ten Mexican states have legalized same-sex marriage (although such marriages are recognized throughout the 31 states of Mexico) as well as the Mexican federal district of Mexico City. Same-sex marriages are also performed in the Caribbean Netherlands and Greenland. Furthermore Aruba, Curaçao and Sint Maarten, recognize same-sex marriages performed in the Netherlands. In addition, four Mexican states perform some sort of civil union and nineteen Mexican states have won injunctions to have individual couple's marriages performed under court order. After South America, North America is the only other continent where an overwhelming majority of people live in a jurisdiction providing marriage rights to LGBT citizens.

Current situation[edit]

National level[edit]

Status Country Legal since Country population
(Last Count, 2008 est.)
(2 countries)
Canada Canada[1] 2005 35,819,000
United States United States[2][3] 2015 321,234,000
Subtotal 357,053,000
(63.5% of the North American population)
Marriage recognized,
but not performed
(1 country)
Mexico Mexico[4] 2010 121,006,000
Subtotal 121,006,000
(21.5% of the North American population)
Unregistered cohabitation
(1 country)
Costa Rica Costa Rica[5][6] 2013 4,851,000
Subtotal 4,851,000
(0.86% of the North American population)
Total 482,910,000
(85.8% of the North American population)
No recognition
(16 countries)
Homosexuality is legal
The Bahamas Bahamas 379,000
Belize Belize 369,000
El Salvador El Salvador 6,460,000
Guatemala Guatemala 16,176,000
Haiti Haiti 10,994,000
Nicaragua Nicaragua 6,514,000
Panama Panama 3,764,000
Homosexuality is illegal but legislation is not enforced
Barbados Barbados 283,000
Trinidad and Tobago Trinidad and Tobago 1,357,000
Homosexuality is illegal
Antigua and Barbuda Antigua and Barbuda 89,000
Dominica Dominica 71,000
Grenada Grenada 104,000
Jamaica Jamaica 2,729,000
Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Kitts and Nevis 46,000
Saint Lucia Saint Lucia 172,000
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 110,000
Subtotal 49,617,000
(8,82% of the North American population)
Constitutional ban on marriage
(3 countries)
Cuba Cuba[7] 1976 11,252,000
Dominican Republic Dominican Republic[8] 2010 9,980,000
Honduras Honduras[9][10] 2005 8,950,000
Subtotal 30,182,000
(5.36% of the North American population)
Total 79,799,000
(14,2% of the North American population)

Sub-national level[edit]

Status Country Jurisdiction Legal since
(43 jurisdictions)
Denmark Denmark 2016
France France 2013
Netherlands Netherlands 2012
Mexico Mexico Varies
United States United States Varies
Other type of partnership
(1 jurisdiction)
Netherlands Netherlands
  • Aruba Aruba
Marriage recognized,
but not performed
(3 jurisdictions)
Netherlands Netherlands
  • Aruba Aruba (Dutch only)[53]
  • Curaçao Curaçao (Dutch only)[53]
  • Sint Maarten Sint Maarten (Dutch only)[53]
No recognition
(3 jurisdictions)
United Kingdom United Kingdom
Constitutional ban on same-sex marriage
(3 jurisdictions)
United Kingdom United Kingdom Varies

Future Legislation[edit]


Government proposals or proposals with a parliamentary majority[edit]

Mexico Mexico On 17 May 2016, President of Mexico, Enrique Peña Nieto, announced he had signed an initiative to amend Article 4 of the Mexican Constitution, which would legalise same-sex marriage nationwide. Any amendment to the constitution requires support of at least a two-thirds majority in Congress and ratification from a simple majority of the 31 states.[58][59] He also submitted the bill to make appropriate changes in the civil code.[60] Chairman of the Committee on Constitutional Issues of the Chamber of Deputies, Daniel Ordoñez, announced in June 2016 that the president's initiative will be debated within the committee the second week of September. Ordoñez also said that 47,000 letters expressing opposition to the initiative were received though none of them were signed.[61]

Opposition proposals or proposals without a parliamentary majority[edit]

ArubaAruba, CuraçaoCuraçao, Sint MaartenSint Maarten As part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, in April 2015 representatives of all four constituent countries agreed that same-sex couples should have equal rights throughout the Kingdom.[62] In Aruba bills on amendments to the civil code, which would establish gender-neutral registered partnerships and allow same-sex couples to get married, were submitted to parliament in April and September, respectively.[63][64] On 8 September 2016, the Parliament of Aruba approved the new Civil Code, which includes provision creating registered partnerships for both same-sex and opposite-sex couples.[65]

Costa Rica Costa Rica On March 19, 2015, a bill to legalize same-sex marriage was introduced to the Legislative Assembly by deputy Ligia Elena Fallas Rodríguez from the Broad Front.[66] On December 10, 2015, the organization Front for Equal Rights (Frente Por los Derechos Igualitarios) and a group of deputies from the Citizens' Action Party, the National Liberation Party and the Broad Front presented another bill.[67][68][69]

Mexico Mexico A decision of the Mexico Supreme Court on 12 June 2015 resulted in a ruling that found that state bans on same-sex marriage were unconstitutional. The court's ruling is considered a "jurisprudential thesis" and does not invalidate any state laws, meaning gay couples denied the right to wed would still have to seek individual injunctions. The ruling standardized the procedures for judges and courts throughout Mexico, to approve all applications for same-sex marriage,[70][71] and made the approval mandatory.[72] The ruling was published in the country's Judicial Gazette on 19 June 2015 and became binding on 22 June 2015.[73] Some have suggested the ruling "effectively legalises" same-sex marriage in Mexico,[74][75] though without legislative change, civil registrars are still bound to follow the state constitutions.[76][77][78]

Public opinion[edit]

Country Pollster Year For same-sex marriage Against
Canada Canada Baròmetro de las Américas por LAPOP 2014 71.1%[79] -
United States USA Wall Street Journal 2015 59%[80] 33%[80]
Mexico Mexico Ipsos 2015 54%[81] 34%[81]
Puerto Rico Puerto Rico Pew Research Center 2014 33%[82] 55%[82]
Costa Rica Costa Rica Pew Research Center 2014 29%[82] 61%[82]
Panama Panama Baròmetro de las Américas por LAPOP/Pew Research Center 2014 25%[79] 72%[82]
Dominican Republic Dominican Republic Pew Research Center 2014 25%[82] 72%[82]
Trinidad and Tobago Trinidad and Tobago Baròmetro de las Américas por LAPOP 2014 16.4%[79] -
Nicaragua Nicaragua Pew Research Center 2014 16[82] 77%[82]
Honduras Honduras Baròmetro de las Américas por LAPOP/Pew Research Center 2014 14.1%[79] 83%[82]
El Salvador El Salvador Baròmetro de las Américas por LAPOP/Pew Research Center 2014 13.9[79] 81%[82]
Guatemala Guatemala Pew Research Center 2014 12%[82] 82%[82]
The Bahamas Bahamas Baròmetro de las Américas por LAPOP 2014 10.6%[79] -
Belize Belize Baròmetro de las Américas por LAPOP 2014 8.4%[79] -
Haiti Haiti Baròmetro de las Américas por LAPOP 2014 6.7%[79] -
Jamaica Jamaica Baròmetro de las Américas por LAPOP 2014 5.1%[79] -

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Excluding most Native American tribes. (Same-sex marriage is legal at least in 26 of them)


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  47. ^ Forget Las Vegas. There’s Heronswood.
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  67. ^ (Spanish) Proyecto de organizaciones sociales para Matrimonio Igualitario ya está en la Asamblea Legislativa
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