Recognition of same-sex unions in Oceania

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  Same-sex marriage
  Other type of partnership (or unregistered cohabitation)
  Limited recognition of same-sex marriages at the federal level, no territory level recognition
  No recognition
  No recognition, same-sex marriage banned by the constitution
  Same-sex sexual activity illegal
Legal status of same-sex unions
  1. Performed in 14 states and Mexico City, and recognized by all states in such cases
  2. Performed in the Netherlands proper, and possibly[citation needed] recognized by Aruba, Curaçao and Sint Maarten in such cases.
  3. Neither performed nor recognized in Niue, Tokelau or the Cook Islands
  4. Neither performed nor recognized in Northern Ireland, the dependency of Sark or in 5 of the 14 British Overseas Territories (Anguilla, the British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands, Montserrat, and the Turks and Caicos Islands)
  5. Neither performed nor recognized in American Samoa or some tribal jurisdictions
  6. Theoretical: no actual cases known
  7. Limited to residency rights for foreign spouses of citizens (EU) or of legal residents (China)
  8. Registration open in all counties except Hualien, Penghu, Taitung and Yunlin

* Not yet in effect, but automatic deadline set by judicial body for same-sex marriage to become legal

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Debate has occurred throughout Oceania over proposals to legalize same-sex marriage as well as civil unions.

Currently two countries and eight territories in Oceania recognize some type of same-sex unions. Two Oceanian countries, Australia and New Zealand[nb 1], and seven territories, namely French Polynesia, Guam, Hawaii, New Caledonia, the Northern Mariana Islands, the Pitcairn Islands and Wallis and Futuna allow same-sex couples to legally marry. Additionally, as a territory of Chile, Easter Island performs civil unions.

Current situation[edit]

National level[edit]

Status Country Legal since Country population
(Last Census count)
(2 countries)
Australia Australia 2017[1] 24,754,000
New Zealand New Zealand 2013[2] 4,840,750
Total 25,749,765
(77.5% of the Oceanian population)
No recognition
(11 countries)
* same-sex sexual activity illegal
Federated States of Micronesia Federated States of Micronesia 135,869
Fiji Fiji 856,346
Kiribati Kiribati * 96,335
Marshall Islands Marshall Islands 73,630
Nauru Nauru 12,329
Papua New Guinea Papua New Guinea * 5,172,033
Samoa Samoa * 179,000
Solomon Islands Solomon Islands * 494,786
Tonga Tonga * 106,137
Tuvalu Tuvalu * 11,146
Vanuatu Vanuatu 240,000
Subtotal 7,377,611
(22.4% of the Oceanian population)
Constitutional ban on marriage
( 1 country)
Palau Palau 2008[3][4] 19,409
Subtotal 19,409
(0.1% of the Oceanian population)
Total 7,397,020
(22.5% of the Oceanian population)

Sub-national level[edit]

Status Country Jurisdiction Legal since
(7 jurisdictions)
France France
  • New Caledonia New Caledonia
  • French Polynesia French Polynesia
  • Wallis and Futuna Wallis and Futuna
United Kingdom United Kingdom 2015[6]
United States United States Varies
Other type of partnership
† Country subject to IACHR ruling on same-sex marriage
(1 jurisdiction)
Chile Chile † 2015
Limited federal recognition only
(1 jurisdiction)
United States United States
No recognition
(3 jurisdictions)
* same-sex sexual activity illegal
New Zealand New Zealand

Public Opinion[edit]

  Indicates the country/territory has legalized same-sex marriage nationwide
Opinion polls for same-sex marriage by country
Country Pollster Year For Against Neutral[a] Source
 Australia Essential 2018 65% 26% 9% [13]
 New Zealand ONE News Colmar Brunton Poll 2012 63% 31% 5% [14]
Opinion polls for same-sex marriage by dependent territory
Country Pollster Year For Against Neutral[a] Source
 Guam University of Guam 2015 55% 29% 16% [15]


  1. ^ a b Also comprises: Don't know; No answer; Other; Refused.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Excluding Tokelau, Niue and the Cook Islands.


  1. ^ Marriage Amendment (Definition and Religious Freedoms) Act 2017
  2. ^ Marriage (Definition of Marriage) Amendment Act 2013
  3. ^ Constitutional proposal 2-274: Marriages between men and women only Archived 15 April 2015 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ The Rights and Liberties of the Palau Constitution by Kevin Bennardo
  5. ^ (in French) LOI n° 2013-404 du 17 mai 2013 ouvrant le mariage aux couples de personnes de même sexe
  6. ^ Same Sex Marriage and Civil Partnership Ordinance 2015
  7. ^ Chief Judge Frances M. Tydingco-Gatewood, District Court of Guam, Order and Opinion Re: Motion for Summary Judgement, Aguero v. Calvo Case 1:15-cv-00009, 8 June 2015
  8. ^ Hawaii Marriage Equality Act of 2013
  9. ^ De La Torre, Ferdie (June 30, 2015). "AG says they will be working with Inos admin in drafting regs". Saipan Tribune. Retrieved June 30, 2015.
  10. ^ Gonzales-Pagan, Omar. "No Same-Sex Couple Left Behind: SCOTUS Ruling for the Freedom to Marry Would Apply with Equal Force to U.S. Territories". Lambda Legal. Retrieved 1 July 2015.
  11. ^ "American Samoa is lone US territory questioning gay marriage validity; no licenses sought". U.S. News and World Report. 10 July 2015. Retrieved 10 July 2015.
  12. ^ "Same-sex marriage: American Samoa may be the only territory in the US where the historic Supreme Court ruling does not apply". The Independent. 10 July 2015. Retrieved 10 July 2015.
  13. ^ "The Essential Report: 13 March 2018" (PDF). Essential Research. 13 March 2018. Retrieved 21 March 2018.
  14. ^ "Views on whether same-sex couples should be able to marry" (PDF). Colmar Brunton. May 2012. Archived from the original (PDF) on 14 March 2016. Retrieved 23 September 2012.
  15. ^ UOG Poll: 55% Support Gay Marriage, Pacific News Center, April 22, 2015