Recognition of same-sex unions in the Americas
In North America, same-sex marriages are recognized and performed in Canada, Costa Rica, the United States,[nb 1] 18 Mexican states and Mexico City. Elsewhere in Mexico, same-sex marriages are recognized by all states, and same-sex couples may get married in any jurisdiction by obtaining a court injunction ("amparo").
Same-sex marriages are also performed in the Dutch territories of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba, the Danish autonomous territory of Greenland, the British territory of Bermuda, and in all French overseas departments (Guadeloupe, Martinique, Saint Barthélemy, Saint Martin and Saint Pierre and Miquelon). Furthermore, Aruba, Curaçao and Sint Maarten recognize same-sex marriages performed in the Netherlands, and Aruba also recognizes domestic partnerships.
In South America, same-sex marriage is currently legal in Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador and Uruguay as well as the jurisdictions of French Guiana, the Falkland Islands and South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands. Civil unions are legal in Chile.
On 8 January 2018, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACHR) ruled that the American Convention on Human Rights mandates and requires the legalization of same-sex marriage. The landmark ruling was fully binding on Costa Rica and set binding precedent in the other signatory countries. The Court recommended that governments issue temporary decrees legalizing same-sex marriage until new legislation is brought in. The ruling applies to Barbados, Bolivia, Chile, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru and Suriname.
|United States including Tribal Nations|
|Status||Country||Legal since||Country population|
(Last count, 2015 est.)
(69.5% of the American population)
|Marriage recognized nationwide;
legal in some jurisdictions; allowed by injunction in others
(12.35% of the American population)
|Other type of partnership
† Country subject to IACHR ruling on same-sex marriage
(1.75% of the American population)
(83.65% of the American population)
† Country subject to IACHR ruling on same-sex marriage
|Homosexuality is legal|
|El Salvador †||—||6,460,000|
|Trinidad and Tobago||—||1,357,000|
|Homosexuality is illegal but legislation is not enforced|
|Antigua and Barbuda||—||89,000|
|Saint Kitts and Nevis||—||46,000|
|Homosexuality is illegal|
|Saint Vincent and the Grenadines||—||110,000|
(12.34% of the American population)
|Constitutional ban on marriage
** Homosexuality is illegal
† Country subject to IACHR ruling on same-sex marriage
|Dominican Republic †||2010||9,980,000|
(3.98% of the American population)
(16.35% of the American population)
2018 Inter-American Court of Human Rights ruling
On 9 January 2018, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights issued an advisory opinion that states party to the American Convention on Human Rights must grant same-sex couples accession to all existing domestic legal systems of family registration, including marriage, along with all rights that derive from marriage. The opinion was issued after the Government of Costa Rica sought clarification of its obligations to LGBT people under the convention. The opinion sets precedent for all 23 member states, 19 of which did not recognize same-sex marriage at the time of the ruling: Barbados, Bolivia, Chile, Costa Rica, Dominica, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Grenada, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru and Suriname. Of these, all but Dominica, Grenada and Jamaica recognize the jurisdiction of the Court. However, states must each individually apply the ruling before it takes effect.
Government proposals or proposals with a parliamentary majority
Chile: In April 2015, the Chilean Government signed a friendly agreement with the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights, wherein it pledged to legalize same-sex marriage. On 28 August 2017, President Bachelet sent a same-sex marriage bill to Congress, including full adoption rights. Following the January 2018 Inter-American Court of Human Rights ruling, which requires signatories to the American Convention on Human Rights to legalize same-sex marriage, LGBT advocacy group MOVILH urged President Piñera to implement and abide by the decision. In early March 2018, a spokesperson for the Piñera Administration announced that passing the same-sex marriage bill will not be a priority, but that the President will not veto or oppose it. On 15 January 2020, a same-sex marriage bill was approved at its first reading in the Senate by 22 votes to 16, and will now go to the Constitutional Committee.
Cuba: The National Assembly and Mariela Castro have stated that same-sex marriage will be legalized through a change to the Family Code, to be debated in 2021. President Miguel Díaz-Canel announced his support for same-sex marriage in September 2018.
Mexico: A decision of the Mexico Supreme Court on 12 June 2015 ruled that state bans on same-sex marriage were unconstitutional. The court's ruling is a "jurisprudential thesis" and does not invalidate any state laws, meaning same-sex couples denied the right to wed would still have to seek individual injunctions (Spanish: amparo). The ruling standardized the procedures for judges and courts throughout Mexico to approve all applications for same-sex marriage, and made the approval mandatory. Following the 2018 general elections, a pro-same-sex marriage party, the National Regeneration Movement (MORENA), won the majority of legislative seats in 12 states where same-sex marriage has not yet been legalized and formed a coalition with an absolute majority in both the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate with the Labor Party. In September 2018, PRD Senator Juan Zapeda Hernández introduced a draft proposal to legalize same-sex marriage nationwide in Mexico. Debates on same-sex marriage are ongoing in many of the states that have not yet legalized it.
Venezuela: In November 2017, President Nicolás Maduro expressed his personal support for same-sex marriage, and said that the Constituent Assembly would agree to discuss legalizing same-sex marriage. In September 2018, Hermann Escarrá, a member of the Constituent Assembly, said that there are discussions in the drafting of the new Constitution of Venezuela to allow same-sex marriage in the country, and that there is majority support in the Assembly. Discussion on the new Constitution was expected to begin at the end of 2018 or early 2019, though was postponed due to the presidential crisis.
Opposition proposals or proposals without a parliamentary majority
Government proposals or proposals with a parliamentary majority
Cayman Islands: On 26 June 2020, the Cayman Islands government introduced the Domestic Partnership Bill, which allows same-sex and opposite-sex couples to register a domestic partnership. The Bill was in response to the High Court's November 2019 ruling that, while the government is not obligated to allow same-sex marriage, it must allow some kind of civil status equivalent to marriage. In January 2020, the couple who had petitioned the case announced that they had filed an appeal to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, seeking full marriage rights.
Ban on same-sex marriage
Government proposals or proposals with a parliamentary majority
Haiti: In August 2017, the Haitian Senate approved a bill that would ban same-sex marriage and criminalize anyone who entered or facilitated a same-sex marriage. It must be passed by the Chamber of Deputies and signed by the President before it becomes law, but as of 2019, the measure has progressed no further through the legislative process.
Panama: On 16 January 2018, the Panamanian Government welcomed the Inter-American Court of Human Rights ruling for same-sex marriage and Vice President Isabel Saint Malo announced that the state would fully abide by it. Official notices, requiring compliance with the ruling, were sent out to various governmental departments that same day. After a change of government, the National Assembly of Panama approved a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage, though the changes were put on hold after a series of popular protests erupted over several controversial proposed constitutional reforms.
|Antigua and Barbuda||AmericasBarometer||2017||12%||-||-|||
|Dominican Republic||CDN 37||2018||45%||55%||-|||
|El Salvador||CID Gallup||2018||14%||78%||8%|||
|Saint Kitts and Nevis||AmericasBarometer||2017||9%||-||-|||
|Saint Vincent and the Grenadines||AmericasBarometer||2017||4%||-||-|||
|Trinidad and Tobago||AmericasBarometer||2014||16%||-||-|||
|Baja California Sur||INEGI||2017||-||42.1%||-|||
|Puerto Rico||Pew Research Center||2014||33%||55%||12%|||
|San Luis Potosí||INEGI||2017||-||38.6%||-|||
|State of Mexico||INEGI||2017||-||33.8%||-|||
- Brazil: A July 2012 nationwide poll revealed that 50% of Brazilians were in favor of the Supreme Court decision that expanded civil unions to same-sex couples. Those in favor were mostly women, younger people and Catholics. Another poll released in March 2013 showed that 47% of the population was in favor of same-sex marriage, while 57% of Brazilians were in favor of same-sex couples adopting children.
- Chile: A January 2017 nationwide poll found that 45% of Chileans supported same-sex adoption.
- LGBT rights in the Americas
- Recognition of same-sex unions in Africa
- Recognition of same-sex unions in Asia
- Recognition of same-sex unions in Europe
- Recognition of same-sex unions in Oceania
- Same-sex marriage in tribal nations in the United States
- Excluding certain Native American tribes. (Same-sex marriage is legal at least in 42 of them)
- Note: While listed here under “subnational level,” US Tribes are considered Nations both in a legal sense and when it comes to preferred language. The United States Government recognizes US Tribal Nations as “Domestic Dependent Nations” under the law in a government-to government relationship. Tribal nations exercise sovereignty, though Congress has ultimate authority under the Plenary Power Doctrine which is why tribal nations are placed here under an imperfect multi-purpose umbrella term
- Also comprises: Don't know; No answer; Other; Refused.
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