Status of same-sex marriage

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This article is about the status of same-sex marriage around the world. For the status of same-sex union legislation, see Same-sex union legislation.
Legal status of same-sex unions
  1. Marriages performed in some municipalities and recognized by the state
  2. For some purposes only
  3. When performed in Mexican states that have legalized same-sex marriage
  4. When performed in the Netherlands proper

* Not yet in effect

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A same-sex marriage refers to the marriage of a same-sex couple. The legal status of same-sex marriage has changed in recent years in numerous jurisdictions around the world. The current trends and consensus of political authorities and religions throughout the world are summarized in this article.

Civil recognition[edit]

Worldwide laws regarding same-sex intercourse and freedom of expression and association
Same-sex intercourse legal Same-sex intercourse illegal
Unenforced penalty
Marriage recognized but not performed1
Civil unions1
Up to life in prison
Unregistered cohabitation1
Death penalty
Same-sex unions not recognized
Laws restricting freedom of expression and association
Rings indicate areas where local judges have granted or denied marriages or imposed the death penalty in a jurisdiction where that is not otherwise the law or areas with a case-by-case application.
1Some jurisdictions in this category may currently have other types of partnerships.

The Netherlands[nb 1] was the first country to legalize same-sex marriages, with the first marriages performed in the Amsterdam city hall on 1 April 2001. Since then, same-sex marriages have been performed legally in Belgium (2003), Spain (2005), Canada (2005), South Africa (2006), Norway (2009), Sweden (2009), Portugal (2010), Iceland (2010), Argentina (2010), Denmark[nb 2] (2012), Brazil (2013), France (2013), Uruguay (2013), New Zealand[nb 3] (2013), the United Kingdom[nb 4] (2014), Luxembourg (2015), the United States[nb 5] (2015), Ireland (2015), Colombia (2016) and Finland (2017).

In Mexico, same-sex marriages are performed in Mexico City (2010)[1] and in nine states: Quintana Roo (2012), Coahuila (2014), Chihuahua (2015), Nayarit (2015), Jalisco (2016), Campeche (2016), Colima (2016), Michoacán (2016) and Morelos (2016), as well as in some municipalities of Guerrero (2015), but same-sex marriages are legally recognized throughout the country.

Opinion polls[edit]

Opinion polls for same-sex marriage
Country Pollster Year For Against Don't Know/Neutral/No answer/Other Source
 Algeria ILGA 2016 10% 71% 20% [2]
 Argentina Ipsos 2015 59% 26% 15% [3]
 Armenia Интеграция и развитие 2013 2% 96% 2% [4]
 Australia Ipsos 2015 69% 25% 6% [5]
 Austria IMAS 2015 55% 38% 7% [6]
 Bahamas Public Domain 2014 7% 90% 3% [7]
 Belarus NAS 2015 4% 87% 9% [8]
 Belize Vanderbilt University 2010 18% 82% - [9]
 Belgium Eurobarometer 2015 77% 20% 3% [10]
 Bermuda Global Research 2016 41% 49% 10% [11]
 Brazil Ipsos 2015 40% 43% 17% [3]
 Bolivia Pew Research Center 2014 22% 67% 11% [12]
 Bulgaria Eurobarometer 2015 17% 68% 15% [10]
 Canada Forum Research 2015 70% 22% 8% [13]
 Chile Plaza Pública Cadem 2017 64% 32% 4% [14]
 China ILGA 2016 31% 30% 39% [2]
 Colombia Gallup 2016 40% 57% 3% [15]
 Costa Rica Pew Research Center 2014 29% 61% 10% [12]
 Croatia ILGA 2016 36% 44% 20% [2]
 Cyprus Eurobarometer 2015 37% 56% 7% [10]
 Czech Republic CVVM 2016 51% 43% 6% [16]
 Denmark Eurobarometer 2015 87% 9% 4% [10]
 Dominican Republic Pew Research Center 2014 25% 72% 3% [12]
 Ecuador Pew Research Center 2014 16% 74% 10% [12]
 Egypt ILGA 2016 16% 58% 26% [2]
 El Salvador Pew Research Center 2014 11% 81% 8% [12]
 Estonia Eurobarometer 2015 31% 58% 11% [10]
 Finland Eurobarometer 2015 66% 28% 6% [10]
 France BVA 2015 67% 31% 2% [17]
 Georgia NDI 2012 6% 89% 4% [18]
 Germany SUZ 2017 83% 17% 0% [19]
 Ghana ILGA 2016 20% 60% 20% [2]
 Greece Focus Bari 2015 56% 35% 9% [20]
 Guatemala Pew Research Center 2014 12% 82% 6% [12]
 Guyana CADRES 2013 14% 76% 10% [21]
 Honduras Pew Research Center 2014 13% 83% 4% [12]
 Hungary Eurobarometer 2015 39% 53% 8% [10]
 Iceland Gallup 2004 87% - - [22]
 India ILGA 2016 35% 35% 30% [2]
 Indonesia ILGA 2016 14% 69% 17% [2]
 Ireland ILGA 2016 64% 18% 18% [2]
 Israel ILGA 2016 49% 27% 24% [2]
 Italy ILGA 2016 43% 35% 22% [2]
 Iraq ILGA 2016 22% 50% 28% [2]
 Jamaica ILGA 2016 16% 54% 30% [2]
 Japan ILGA 2016 33% 27% 40% [2]
 Jordan ILGA 2016 14% 62% 23% [2]
 Kazakhstan ILGA 2016 12% 66% 21% [2]
 Kenya ILGA 2016 21% 62% 17% [2]
 Latvia Eurobarometer 2015 19% 76% 5% [10]
 Lithuania Vilmorus 2016 7% 80% 13% [23]
 Luxembourg Eurobarometer 2015 75% 20% 5% [10]
 Malaysia ILGA 2016 30% 47% 23% [2]
 Malta Eurobarometer 2015 65% 29% 6% [10]
 Mexico Gabinete de Comunicación Estratégica 2016 69% 25% 6% [24]
 Moldova IPP 2014 6% 87% 7% [25]
 Morocco ILGA 2016 14% 65% 21% [2]
 Netherlands ILGA 2016 64% 19% 17% [2]
 New Zealand ILGA 2016 57% 22% 21% [2]
 Nicaragua Pew Research Center 2014 16% 77% 7% [12]
 Nigeria ILGA 2016 21% 62% 18% [2]
 Norway Ipsos 2013 78% 17% 4% [26]
 Pakistan ILGA 2016 30% 51% 19% [2]
 Panama Pew Research Center 2014 23% 72% 5% [12]
 Paraguay Pew Research Center 2014 15% 80% 5% [12]
 Peru CPI 2017 13% 82% 4% [27]
 Philippines ILGA 2016 25% 52% 24% [2]
 Poland ILGA 2016 30% 45% 25% [2]
 Portugal ILGA 2016 53% 27% 21% [2]
 Romania Eurobarometer 2015 21% 69% 10% [10]
 Russia ILGA 2016 13% 61% 20% [2]
 Saudi Arabia ILGA 2016 18% 58% 24% [2]
 Serbia ILGA 2016 21% 55% 24% [2]
 Singapore OSC 2013 21% 55% 24% [28]
 Slovakia Eurobarometer 2015 24% 69% 7% [10]
 Slovenia Ninamedia 2015 38% 50% 12% [29]
 South Africa Ipsos 2015 45% 40% 15% [3]
 South Korea Ipsos 2015 27% 55% 18% [3]
 Spain ILGA 2016 63% 20% 17% [2]
 Sudan ILGA 2014 29% 43% 29% [30]
 Suriname Vanderbilt University 2010 20% 80% - [9]
 Sweden Eurobarometer 2015 90% 7% 3% [10]
  Switzerland Pink Cross 2016 69% 25% 6% [31]
 Syria ILGA 2014 21% 56% 24% [30]
 Taiwan Taiwanese Public Opinion Foundation 2016 38% 56% 6% [32]
 Thailand NIDA Poll 2015 59% 35% 6% [33]
 Trinidad and Tobago ILGA 2016 22% 50% 29% [2]
 Tunisia ILGA 2014 18% 62% 21% [30]
 Turkey Ipsos 2015 27% 44% 29% [3]
 Uganda ILGA 2016 15% 63% 22% [2]
 Ukraine ILGA 2016 13% 60% 27% [2]
 United Arab Emirates ILGA 2016 19% 59% 22% [2]
 United Kingdom YouGov 2016 56% 27% 17% [34]
 United States Gallup 2016 61% 37% 2% [35]
 Uruguay Pew Research Center 2014 62% 31% 7% [12]
 Venezuela Pew Research Center 2014 28% 61% 11% [12]
 Vietnam ILGA 2016 45% 25% 30% [2]
 Zimbabwe ILGA 2016 19% 59% 22% [2]
  Indicates the country has legalized same-sex marriage nationwide


South Africa is the only African country that legally recognizes same-sex marriage.

Same-sex sexual activity legal
  Same-sex marriage
  No recognition of same-sex couples
Same-sex sexual activity illegal
  Not Enforced or unclear
  Life in prison
  Death penalty

South Africa[edit]

In December 2005, in the case of Minister of Home Affairs v Fourie, the Constitutional Court of South Africa ruled unanimously that bans on same-sex marriage were unconstitutional. The Court gave Parliament one year to change the laws, or same-sex marriage would be legalized by default.

In November 2006, Parliament passed the Civil Union Act, under which both same-sex and opposite-sex couples may contract unions. A union under the Civil Union Act may, at the choice of the spouses, be called either a marriage or a civil partnership; whichever name is chosen, the legal effect is identical to that of a traditional marriage under the Marriage Act. Both religious and civil officials may refuse to perform same-sex marriages.[36]


Main article: LGBT rights in Asia

No country in Asia currently performs same-sex marriages, and only Israel recognizes same-sex marriages performed overseas.

Same-sex sexual activity legal
  Other type of partnership (or unregistered cohabitation)
  Foreign same-sex marriages recognized1
  No recognition of same-sex couples
  Restrictions on freedom of expression
Same-sex sexual activity illegal
  Not Enforced or unclear
  Life in prison
  Death penalty


In 2004, King Norodom Sihanouk, announced that he supports legislation extending marriage rights to same-sex couples.[37]

In 2011, a ban prohibiting gay marriage was abolished, making same-sex marriages neither illegal or legal. Some village chiefs may occasionally issue marriage certificates to same-sex couples if one of them is willing to identify as the opposite sex on the marriage license.[38]


Same-sex marriage is not legally recognized. Article 2 of the Marriage Law declares "one husband and one wife" as one of the principles guiding marriages. The principle, first codified in 1950, was intended to outlaw polygamy, but is now also interpreted to disallow same-sex marriages. Many other articles of the same law also assumes the marriage is a heterosexual union.[citation needed]

The National People's Congress proposed legislation allowing same-sex marriages in 2003. During the course of the debate, the proposal failed to garner the 30 votes needed for a placement on the agenda.[citation needed]

In 2009, changes to Hong Kong's Domestic and Cohabitation Relationships Ordinance were made to protect same-sex partners.[39] On 13 May 2013, the Court of Final Appeal, in a 4:1 decision, gave transgender people the right to marry as their identified gender rather than their biological sex at birth - a decision that may pave the way for future changes.[citation needed]

On 5 January 2016, a court in Changsha agreed to hear a lawsuit against the Bureau of Civil Affairs of Furong District for its June 2015 refusal to let a gay marry his partner.[40] On 13 April 2016, the court ruled against the couple. They vowed to appeal, citing the importance of his case for LGBT progress in China.[41]

Currently, Hong Kong and Beijing will grant spousal visas to same-sex couples. These documents allow the same-sex partners expatriates to live in China, though only one member of the couple may work. In Hong Kong, this visa must be renewed every six months and does not grant the right to work or earn permanent residency.[42]


Same-sex marriage is not explicitly prohibited under Indian law, but it is emphasized in heteronormativity.


Marriages in Israel are performed under the authority of the religious authorities to which the couple belong. For Jewish couples the responsible religious authority is the orthodox Chief Rabbinate of Israel. The Rabbinate does not permit same-sex marriages. However, on 21 November 2006 the Supreme Court of Israel ruled that five same-sex Israeli couples who had married in Canada were entitled to have their marriages registered in Israel.[43]


Article 24 of the Japanese constitution states that "Marriage shall be based only on the mutual consent of both sexes and it shall be maintained through mutual cooperation with the equal rights of husband and wife as a basis." The purpose of the clause was to counter previous feudal arrangement where the father or husband was legally recognized as the head of the household. However, the new constitution had the unintended consequence of defining the marriage as union of "both sexes", i.e. man and woman.[citation needed] However, on 27 March 2009, it was reported that Japan has given the green light for its nationals to marry same-sex foreign partners in countries where same-sex marriage is legal, a justice ministry official said.[44] Japan does not allow same-sex marriages domestically and has so far also refused to issue a key document required for citizens to wed overseas if the applicant's intended spouse was of the same gender. Under the change, the justice ministry has told local authorities to issue the key certificate—which states a person is single and of legal age—for those who want to enter same-sex marriages.


Nepal's highest court, in November 2008, issued final judgment on matters related to LGBT rights.[45][46] A new Nepalese constitution, approved by the Constituent Assembly on 16 September 2015, includes several provisions pertaining to the rights of LGBT people. Based on the ruling of the Supreme Court of Nepal in late 2008, the government was looking into legalising same-sex marriage. According to several sources, the new constitution was expected to include it. However, the new constitution appears not to address that topic explicitly.[47][48]


The New People's Army of the Philippines conducted the country's first same-sex marriage in 2005. However it was not recognized by the government. Within the government there has been some debate on the issue of same-sex unions. The Roman Catholic Church stands in fierce opposition to any such unions. But since 1991 the Metropolitan Community Church Philippines has been conducting same-sex holy unions in the Philippines. As of 2010, the issue of same-sex marriage is not "under consideration" in the Philippines. The only thing under consideration is a possible ban on same-sex marriage, including refusal to recognize marriages performed overseas. Political parties such as the Gabriela Women's Partylist are actively lobbying and advocating for lesbian and gay rights and to insist that society not discriminate on the basis of sexual preference.[49]

South Korea[edit]

On 30 July 2004, the Democratic Labor Party of South Korea filed a formal complaint against the Incheon District Court's decision to refuse recognition of same-sex marriages. The complaint was filed on the grounds that the decision is unconstitutional, because neither the Constitution nor civil law define marriage as being between a man and a woman (the only mentioned requisite is age of majority) and that the Constitution explicitly forbids discrimination "pertaining to all political, economic, social, or cultural aspects of life of an individual." The Committee also claimed that refusal to recognize same-sex marriages constitutes discrimination based on sexual orientation and a refusal to provide equal protection under the law.[50]


In 2003, the government of the Taiwan, led by the Presidential office, proposed legislation granting marriages to same-sex couples under the Human Rights Basic Law. However, it has not proceeded. The country does not have any form of same-sex unions.[51]

On 22 December 2014, a proposed amendment to the Civil Code which would legalize same-sex marriage was due to go under review by the Judiciary Committee. If the amendment passes the committee stage it will then be voted on at the plenary session of the Legislative Yuan in 2015. The amendment, called the marriage equality amendment, would insert neutral terms into the Civil Code replacing ones that imply heterosexual marriage, effectively legalizing same-sex marriage. It would also allow same-sex couples to adopt children. Yu Mei-nu of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), who is the convener of the current legislative session, has expressed support for the amendment, as have more than 20 other DPP lawmakers as well as two from the Taiwan Solidarity Union and one each from the Kuomintang and the People First Party.[52]


Laws regarding same-sex partnerships in Europe
  Foreign marriages recognized
  Other type of partnership
  Unregistered cohabitation
  Constitution limits marriage to opposite-sex couples

Includes laws that have not yet gone into effect.

Same-sex civil marriages are legally recognized nationwide in the Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Norway, Sweden, Portugal, Iceland, Denmark (excluding the Faroe Islands), France, the United Kingdom (excluding Northern Ireland and Jersey), Luxembourg, Ireland and Finland. In a number of other European countries, same-sex civil unions give similar or identical rights to marriage.

A poll conducted by EOS Gallup Europe in 2003 found that 57 percent of the population in the then 15-member European Union support same-sex marriage. The support among the member states who joined in 2004 is lower (around 28 percent), meaning that 53 percent of citizens in the 25-member EU support legalizing same-sex marriage.[53]


Albania's government announced its intention to propose a bill allowing same-sex marriage in 2009. However, the bill had not been presented.[54]


On 1 June 2003, Belgium became the second country in the world to legally recognise same-sex marriage.


Civil cohabitations have been legal in Cyprus since 11 December 2015. The bill to establish civil cohabitation was approved by the parliament on 26 November 2015 with a 39-12 vote.[55][56] It was published in the official gazette on 11 December 2015 and took effect upon publication.[57]

Czech Republic[edit]

On 15 March 2006, the parliament of the Czech Republic voted to override a presidential veto and allow same-sex partnerships to be recognised by law, effective 1 July 2006, granting registered couples inheritance and health care rights similar to married couples. The legislation did not grant adoption rights. The parliament had previously rejected similar legislation four times.[58][59]


On 15 June 2012, Denmark became the eleventh country in the world to legalise same-sex marriage.


Registered partnerships have been legal in Finland since 2002. Legislation for same-sex marriage was submitted to the Parliament in March 2012 but it was turned down by the Legal Affairs Committee in February 2013. The bill was reintroduced to the Parliament in December 2013 as a citizens' initiative, with the support of 160,000 people. In June 2014 the Legal Affairs Committee recommended to reject it, but on 28 November 2014 the full Parliament by a vote of 92–105 did not accept that recommendation, thus paving the way for the legalisation of same-sex marriage. The initiative was approved by the full session at the second reading on 12 December 2014. The new marriage law will take effect 1 March 2017. In order that the provisions of the framework law be fully implementable further legislation has to be passed. A new citizens' initiative was started on 29 March 2015 aiming to rescind the new marriage law. The new initiative collected almost 110,000 signatures by 29 September 2015 and will be presented to The Parliament.


Since 1999, same-sex civil unions (PACS) have been allowed and legal in France. In June 2011, an Ifop poll found that 63% of respondents were in favour of same-sex marriage.[60] France legalised same-sex marriage on 23 April 2013.[61] The bill was confirmed in the Constitutional Court of France on 17 May 2013 and signed by the French President on 18 May 2013.


In Germany there is a legal recognition of same-sex couples. Registered life partnerships (Eingetragene Lebenspartnerschaft) (effectively, a form of civil union) have been instituted since 2001, giving same-sex couples most of the rights and obligations of marriage. In 2004, this act was amended to include adoption rights (stepchild adoption only) and to reform previously cumbersome dissolution procedures with regard to division of property and alimony. Attempts to give equal rights to registered partners or to legalize same-sex marriage have generally been blocked by the CDU/CSU, the main party in government since 2005. All other main parties (SPD, The Greens, The Left and FDP) support full LGBT equality. The Federal Constitutional Court of Germany has however issued various rulings in favor of equal rights for same-sex registered partners (such as joint tax filing benefits), requiring the governing coalition to change the law.


In Greece, there is a legal recognition of same-sex couples since 24 December 2015. Attempts to give equal rights to registered partners or to legalize same-sex marriage begun in Spring 2008, after the Greek Minister of Justice, Transparency and Human Rights announced that a bill was to be introduced to the Hellenic Parliament in order to regulate civil partnerships for opposite-sex couples, but refused to include provisions for same-sex couples as well. The case was brought to the European Court of Human Rights in 2013, which ruled that the exclusion of same-sex couples from the bill is discriminatory and a violation of human rights. However, on 9 November 2015, a new bill granting the same-sex couples all the rights of marriage except adoption was published. The bill was sent for public consultation which would end on 20 November 2015 and then was submitted to the Hellenic Parliament on 9 December 2015, and approved 14 days later, on 23 December, with 194 MPs voting yes, 55 voting no and 51 being absent.[62][63] The following day, the law was signed by the President of Greece and published in the government gazette. It took effect upon publication.[64]


Unregistered cohabitation has been recognized since 1996. It applies to any couple living together in an economic and sexual relationship (common-law marriage), including same-sex couples. No official registration is required. The law gives some specified rights and benefits to two persons living together. These rights and benefits are not automatically given – they must be applied for to the social department of the local government in each case. An amendment was made to the Civil Code: "Partners – if not stipulated otherwise by law – are two people living in an emotional and economic community in the same household without being married." Widow-pension is possible, partners cannot be heirs by law (without the need for a will), but can be designated as testamentary heirs.

The Hungarian Parliament on 21 April 2009 passed legislation by a vote of 199–159, called the Registered Partnership Act 2009 which allows same-sex couples to register their relationships so they can access the same rights, benefits and entitlements as opposite-sex couples (except for the right to marriage, adoption, IVF, surrogacy, taking a surname or become the legal guardian of their partner's child). The legislation does not allow opposite-sex couples to register their relationships (out of fear that there might be duplication under the law). The law came into force on 1 July 2009.[65]

Since 1 January 2012 the Hungarian Constitution bans same-sex marriage.


On 11 June 2010, a law was passed to make same-sex marriage legal in Iceland. The law took effect on 27 June 2010.[66]


The Civil Partnership and Certain Rights and Obligations of Cohabitants Act 2010 was first debated in Dáil Éireann on 3 December 2009. It passed in Dáil Éireann without a vote on 1 July 2010 due to all parties supporting the bill. The bill passed in Seanad Éireann on 8 July 2010 with a vote of 48–4. It was signed by the President of Ireland on 19 July 2010.

The law took effect on 1 January 2011.[67] It grants many rights to same-sex couples through civil partnerships but does not recognise both civil partners as the guardians of a child being raised by the couple. Irish law allows married couples and individuals to apply to adopt and allows gay couples to foster. The Act also gives new protections to cohabitating couples, both same-sex and opposite-sex.[68]

A referendum that took place on 22 May 2015 has amended the Irish constitution to make same-sex marriage legal.[69] The Marriage Act 2015 was signed into law on 29 October 2015.[70]


On 11 May 2016, Italian MPs voted 372 to 51, and 99 abstaining, to approve Civil Unions in Italy.[71] This came nearly a year after the European Court of Human Rights found Italy to be in breach of the European Convention of Human Rights.[72]


In December 2005, the Latvian Parliament passed a constitutional amendment defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman. President Vaira Vike-Freiberga signed the amendment shortly afterward.


On 14 April 2014, the Maltese parliament voted in favour of civil unions at par with marriage (equal to marriage in all but the name) with all rights and obligations, including the right to adoption and recognition of same-sex marriage contracted abroad. The first foreign same-sex marriage was registered on 29 April 2014 and the first civil unions began on 14 June 2014.[73]


The Netherlands became the first country in the world to legalise same-sex marriages on 1 April 2001. The possibility exists in its European territory as well as the Caribbean Netherlands (Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba) while those marriages can be registered in Aruba, Curaçao and Sint Maarten.


Same-sex marriage is legally performed in Norway. The Norwegian government proposed a gender-neutral marriage law on 14 March 2008, that would give same-sex couples the same rights as heterosexuals, including church weddings, adoption and assisted pregnancies. On 29 May 2008, the Associated Press reported that two Norwegian Opposition parties came out in favor of the new bill, assuring the bill's passage when the vote was held on 11 June. Prior to this, there were some disagreements with members of the three-party governing coalition on whether the bill had enough votes to pass. With this, it became almost certain that the bill would pass.[74]

The first hearings and the vote were held, and passed, on 11 June 2008. 84 votes for and 41 against. This also specified that when a woman who is married to another woman becomes pregnant through artificial insemination, the partner would have all the rights of parenthood "from the moment of conception". The law became effective from 1 January 2009.[75]

Norway was also the second country to legalize registered partnerships, doing so in 1993. Since 1 January 2009, all registered partnerships[citation needed] from 1993–2008 were upon request by the couples upgraded to marriage status.


In March 2001, the Socialist government of then Prime Minister António Guterres introduced legislation that would extend to same-sex couples the same rights as heterosexual couples living in a de facto union for more than two years.

Same-sex marriage became a source of debate in February 2006 when a lesbian couple was denied a marriage license. They took their case to court alleging violation of the 1976 constitution which prohibits discrimination based on one's sexual orientation. Prime Minister José Sócrates of the Socialist Party was reelected in September 2009 and included same-sex marriage in his party's program. A bill recognizing same-sex marriage was proposed by the government and approved by parliament on 8 January 2010.[76] However, Portugal's parliament rejected alternative proposals that included a provision to allow homosexual couples to adopt as a couple (single homosexuals can legally adopt).[77] Although personally against it, the Portuguese President ratified the bill on 17 May 2010. The law became effective on 5 June 2010, after publication in the official gazette, on 31 May. The first marriage was celebrated on 7 June 2010 between Teresa Pires and Helena Paixão, the same lesbian couple that was denied a marriage licence in 2006.


In July 2006, Slovenia became the first former Yugoslav country to introduce domestic partnerships nationwide.[78] In December 2009 the Slovenian government approved a new Family Code, which includes same-sex marriage and same-sex adoption. The bill was approved by parliament, but rejected by voters in a 2015 referendum. On 24 February 2017, a new law came into effect which gives same-sex partnerships all the legal rights of marriages, with the exception of adoption and in-vitro fertilisation.[79][80]


Spain became the third country in the world (after the Netherlands and Belgium) to legalize same-sex marriage. After being elected in June 2004, Spanish prime minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero restated his pre-election pledge to push for legalization of same-sex marriage.[81] On 1 October 2004, the Spanish Government approved a bill to legalize same-sex marriage, including adoption rights. The bill received full parliamentary approval on 30 June 2005 and passed into law on 2 July, becoming fully legal on 3 July. Polls suggest that 62% to 76% of Spain supports same-sex marriage.[82][83][84][26]


Following a bill introduced jointly by six of the seven parties in the Riksdag, a gender-neutral marriage law was adopted on 1 April 2009.[85] It came into force on 1 May, replacing the old legislation on registered partnerships.[86] On 22 October, the assembly of the Church of Sweden (which is no longer officially the national church but whose assent was needed for the new practice to work smoothly within its ranks) voted strongly in favor of giving its blessing.[87]

United Kingdom[edit]

England and Wales[edit]

On 18 November 2004 the United Kingdom Parliament passed the Civil Partnership Act, which came into force in December 2005 and allows same-sex couples in England and Wales to register their partnership. The government stressed during the passage of the bill that it is not same-sex marriage, and some same-sex rights activists have criticized the act for not using the terminology of marriage. However, the rights and duties of partners under this legislation are exactly the same as for married couples. An amendment proposing similar rights for family members living together was rejected. The press widely referred to these unions as "gay marriage." [88] During and following the 2010 election, all parties stated they were in favor of allowing same-sex marriage in the UK.[89][90] Following a public consultation, as of 2013 a bill allowing same-sex marriage in England and Wales, and also providing an exemption for conducting of same-sex marriage ceremonies for religious bodies whose doctrines oppose such relationships, passed its second reading on 5 February 2013 in a 400–175 vote. The bill passed its third reading in the House of Lords on 15 July 2013[91] and the Commons accepted all of the Lords' amendments on the following day, with Royal Assent granted on 17 July 2013. The law went into effect on 29 March 2014.


In Scotland, which is a separate legal jurisdiction, the devolved Scottish Parliament also introduced Civil Partnerships, and performed also a consultation on the issue of same-sex marriage. On 25 July 2012 the Scottish Government announced it would bring forward legislation to legalise both civil and religious same-sex marriage in Scotland. The Government reiterated its intention to ensure that no religious group or individual member of the clergy would be forced to conduct such ceremonies; it also stated its intention to work with Westminster to make necessary changes to the Equality Act to ensure that this would be guaranteed.[92][93] No legislative plans have currently been announced for a similar law in Northern Ireland.

On 4 February 2014, Scotland passed Marriage and Civil Partnership Bill 105 to 18 legalizing same-sex marriage which came into effect on 16 December 2014.

North America[edit]

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 judicial ruling against a ban on same-sex marriage2
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 binding judicial rulings against bans on unions similar to marriage or ban unions similar to marriage.


In Canada between 2003 and 2005, court rulings in Ontario, British Columbia, Quebec, Manitoba, Nova Scotia, Saskatchewan, Newfoundland and Labrador, New Brunswick, and Yukon ruled the prohibition of same-sex marriage to be contrary to the Charter of Rights, thus legalizing it in those jurisdictions (which covered 90% of the population). In response to these rulings, the governing Liberal party minority government introduced legislation to allow same-sex couples to marry. On July 20, 2005, the Canadian Parliament passed the Civil Marriage Act, defining marriage nationwide as "the lawful union of two persons to the exclusion of all others." This was challenged on December 7, 2006 by a motion tabled by the newly elected Conservative party, asking the government to introduce amendments to the Marriage Act to restrict marriage to opposite-sex couples; it was defeated in the House of Commons by a vote of 175 to 123.

Canada does not have a residency requirement for marriage; consequently, many foreign couples have gone to Canada to marry, regardless of whether that marriage will be recognized in their home country. In fact, in some cases, a Canadian marriage has provided the basis for a challenge to the laws of another country, with cases in Ireland and Israel. Notably, the plaintiff in the United States v. Windsor, which challenged the Defense of Marriage Act wed her wife in Ontario.

As of November 11, 2004, the Canadian federal government's immigration department, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC), considers same-sex marriages performed in Canada valid for the purposes of sponsoring a spouse to immigrate.[94] Canadian immigration authorities previously considered long-term, same-sex relationships to be equivalent to similar heterosexual relationships as grounds for sponsorship.[citation needed]

Costa Rica[edit]

In 2006, the Supreme Court ruled in a 5–2 decision that it was not required by the constitution to recognize same-sex couples in family law.[95] Legal recognition of same-sex unions has been considered by the Legislative Assembly.[96]


State recognition of same-sex relationships in Mexico
  Same-sex marriage
(Rings: Individual cases)
  Same-sex civil unions
  Same-sex marriages recognized but not performed

Same-sex couples can marry in Mexico City and in the states of Chihuahua, Coahuila, Guerrero, Jalisco, Nayarit, Quintana Roo and Sonora. In individual cases, same-sex couples have been given judicial approval to marry in several other states. Since August 2010, same-sex marriages performed within Mexico are recognized by the 31 states without exception.

On 9 November 2006, Mexico City's unicameral Legislative Assembly passed and approved (43–17) a bill legalizing same-sex civil unions, under the name Ley de Sociedades de Convivencia (Law for Co-existence Partnerships), which became effective on 16 March 2007.[97] The law recognizes property and inheritance rights to same-sex couples. On 11 January 2007, the northern state of Coahuila, which borders Texas, passed a similar bill (20–13), under the name Pacto Civil de Solidaridad (Civil Pact of Solidarity).[98] Unlike Mexico City's law, once same-sex couples have registered in Coahuila, the state protects their rights no matter where they live in the country.[98] Twenty days after the law had passed, the country's first same-sex civil union took place in Saltillo, Coahuila.[99]

On 21 December 2009, Mexico City's Legislative Assembly legalized (39–20) same-sex marriages and adoption by same-sex couples.[100] Eight days later, the law was enacted and became effective in March 2010.[101]

On 28 November 2011, the first two same-sex marriages occurred in Quintana Roo after discovering that Quintana Roo's Civil Code did not explicitly prohibit same-sex marriage,[102] but these marriages were later annulled by the governor of Quintana Roo in April 2012.[103] In May 2012, the Secretary of State of Quintana Roo reversed the annulments and allowed for future same-sex marriages to be performed in the state.[104]

On 30 April 2013, a male same-sex couple asked the Civil Registrar of Chihuahua to marry. The Civil Registar rejected because the State Constitution defines marriage as the union of a man and a woman. On 7 May 2013, the couple appealed the decision of the Civil Registar and on 19 August, judge, José Juan Múzquiz Gómez, of the Tenth District Court of the Chihuahua State recognized that they have the right to marry. The Civil Registar had up to 3 September to appeal the decision.[105] The government of the state did not appeal the decision and allowed the deadline to pass. On 4 September 2013, Chihuahua became the third state in Mexico to allow same-sex couples to marry.[106]

In January 2010, in the northwestern Mexican state of Sonora, a same-sex marriage bill has been proposed.[107] In southeastern Tabasco, the state's largest political parties, the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) and the Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD), have announced their support for same-sex marriage in the 2010 agenda.[108] In the western state of Michoacán, the Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD) has announced it will propose bills concerning civil unions, same-sex marriage and adoption by same-sex couples in 2010.[109] In neighboring Colima, governor Mario Anguiano Moreno has agreed to discuss the legalization of civil unions and adoption by same-sex couples.[110]

On 12 June 2015, the governor of Chihuahua announced that his administration would no longer oppose same-sex marriages within the state. The order was effective immediately, thus making Chihuahua the third state to legalize such unions.[111][112]

United States[edit]

On June 26, 2015, the US Supreme Court ruled that same-sex marriage is a constitutional right under the 14th Amendment to the Constitution, thereby making same-sex marriage legal throughout the United States.[113]

Prior to June 26, 2015, same-sex marriages were legal in the District of Columbia, Guam, and thirty-six states.

In 2005, California became the first state to pass a bill authorizing same-sex marriages without a court order, but this bill was vetoed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. In 2008, the Supreme Court of California overturned a 2000 law banning same-sex marriages.[114] The legal effect of the court ruling was curtailed by another voter initiative called Proposition 8 later that year.[115] Proposition 8 was upheld by the California Supreme Court in 2009, holding that same-sex couples have all the rights of heterosexual couples, except the right to the "designation" of marriage.[116] On June 26, 2013, the Supreme Court ruled in Hollingsworth v. Perry that Proposition 8 was unconstitutional, allowing same-sex marriages to resume in California.

Federal recognition[edit]

In 1996, the U.S. Congress passed the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA)l. Section 3 of DOMA defined marriage as a union between a man and a woman, and its purpose was to enable states to deny recognition of same-sex marriages performed in other states.[117] DOMA also denied federal recognition to same-sex couples who were legally married under state law.

On June 26, 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court declared Section 3 of DOMA to be unconstitutional in United States v. Windsor. The court said that the provision was "a deprivation of the equal liberty of persons that is protected by the Fifth Amendment."[118] With this ruling the federal government recognized same-sex marriages performed by states that allowed same-sex marriage. It also affected several federal rights, including enabling a U.S. citizen to petition a same-sex spouse for immigration.[119] The Court in the United States v. Windsor case did not, however, address the constitutionality of DOMA Section 2, which allowed a state to deny recognition of same-sex marriages granted in other states.

In February 2015, the United States Department of Labor issued its final rule amending the definition of spouse under the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA) in response to the Windsor decision. The new rule became effective March 27, 2015.[120] The revised definition of "spouse" extended FMLA leave rights and job protections to eligible employees in a same-sex marriage or a common-law marriage entered into in a state where those statuses were legally recognized, regardless of the state in which the employee worked or resided.[121] Accordingly, even if an employer had employees working where same-sex or common law marriage was not recognized, those employees’ spouses would trigger FMLA coverage if an employee was married in one of the states that recognized same-sex marriage or common law marriage.[122]

The Obergefell v. Hodges decision on June 26, 2015 eliminated the distinction between same-sex marriage and opposite-sex marriage at the federal level, holding that marriage was a constitutional right, and that same-sex couples were entitled to equal rights under the law.[123]

Civil unions[edit]

Several states offered alternative legal certifications that recognized same-sex relationships. Before states enacted these laws, U.S. cities began offering recognition of these unions. These laws bestowed marriage-like rights to these couples, and were referred to as civil unions, domestic partnerships, or reciprocal beneficiaries depending on the state. The extent to which these unions resembled marriage varied by state, and several states had enhanced the rights afforded to them over time. The U.S. jurisdictions that used these forms of same-sex union recognition instead of marriage were: Colorado (2009), Wisconsin (2009), and Nevada (2009).

U.S. Territories[edit]

An attempt to ban same-sex marriages and any other legal recognition of same-sex couples in the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico failed in 2008. Puerto Rico already banned same-sex marriage by statute.[124]

Same-sex marriage is still not performed in American Samoa, an unorganized territory of the U.S. The application of the U.S. Supreme court decision to the territory is unclear and has not been challenged.[125]

Native American Tribes[edit]

Several Native American tribes have also legalized same-sex marriage. Those are:



Status of same-sex unions in Australia.
  Civil or Domestic Partnership
  Defined statewide as "de facto"

Since August 2004, same-sex marriage became banned under an amended federal law Marriage Act 1961 (Amendment) Act 2004 so that neither a foreign same-sex marriage can be performed or recognised in the Commonwealth Marriage Act 1961. This effectively banned same-sex marriage in Australia. The law, which prior to 2004, had not defined marriage specifically, appropriated marriage as the "voluntary union of one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others." In 1874 under the Hyde vs. Hyde case marriage was defined in the common law as a "voluntary union of one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others." Neither Civil partnerships nor civil unions are recognised by the Commonwealth Government, either. The Federal Opposition, namely the Australian Labor Party under the leadership of Mark Latham, joined with the Government to support the ban, amid strong objection from the Australian Democrats and The Greens. It was passed on 13 August 2004 as effective from the day of assent. In June 2009, polling showed that 60 percent of Australians support same-gender marriage (Galaxy).

The states and territories of New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria and the Australian Capital Territory have civil partnerships or relationship registration schemes that are available for all couples. Local governments areas of Yarra, Port Headland, Vincent, Blue Mountains and Melbourne also provide relationship registers for symbolic recognition, but these do not provide any legal rights. Furthermore, all states and the Commonwealth Government provide recognition to de facto couples of any gender, providing them with most of the rights of married couples.

At their 2011 party conference, Labor added support of same-sex marriage to their platform in a conscience vote.[137] As of July 2015, a faction of the ruling Liberals also support same-sex marriage, and are pushing for a free vote on the issue.[138][139]

  Same-sex marriage
  Other type of partnership (or unregistered cohabitation)
  No recognition
  Same-sex sexual activity illegal


On 26 March 2013, Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama expressed opposition to the idea of same-sex marriage. Answering a question raised by a caller on a radio talk-back programme, he stated that same-sex marriage "will not be allowed because it is against religious beliefs".[140][141]

New Zealand[edit]

From 2005, civil unions, which impart all of the same rights and privileges as marriage (except for adoption), have been legal.

On 17 April 2013, the Marriage (Definition of Marriage) Amendment Bill, a member's bill sponsored by openly lesbian Labour MP Louisa Wall that would legalise same sex marriage was passed by Parliament, 77 votes to 44.[142] The bill received Royal Assent from the Governor-General on 19 April and took effect on 19 August 2013.[143]

In the first year after the law became operational, 926 same-sex marriages were registered in New Zealand, including 532 marriages (57.5%) between New Zealand citizens, and 237 marriages (25.6%) between Australian citizens.[144][145]


Samoa is a deeply conservative Christian nation.[146] Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi in 2012 reportedly "scoffed" at the idea of same-sex marriage being adopted in Samoa, and indicated that he would not support it.[147] He reiterated this position, on explicitly religious grounds, in March 2013.[148]

South America[edit]

Recognition of same-sex unions in South America
  Other type of partnership
  Same-sex marriage banned
  Same-sex sexual activity illegal

Same-sex marriage is possible in Argentina (2010), Brazil (2013), Uruguay (2013) and Colombia (2016).


On 22 July 2010, Argentina became the first country in Latin America to legalise same-sex marriage. The law also allows same-sex couples to adopt.[149] And in many jurisdictions, including the city of Buenos Aires, it is also legal for non-residents and tourists.[150]


Further information: Same-sex marriage in Brazil

On 25 October 2011, Brazil's Supreme Court of Justice ruled that two women can enter into civil marriage under the current law, thus overturning the decision of two lower court's ruling against the women.[151] Following this ruling, a growing number of courts of Brazilian states, such as the most populous state of São Paulo, implemented directives which allowed for same-sex civil marriages in the same manner as other marriages.

Same-sex couples can currently have registered partnerships and full rights to adopt children in all states, and same-sex marriages based on court orders have occurred in several states in individual cases.

On 14 May 2013, Brazil's National Justice Council (CNJ) ruled in favor of recognizing same-sex marriage nationwide.[152]


The Colombian Constitutional Court ruled in February 2007 that same-sex couples are entitled to the same inheritance rights as heterosexuals in common-law marriages. This ruling made Colombia the first South American nation to legally recognize gay couples. In January 2009, the Court ruled that same-sex couples must be extended all of the rights offered to cohabitating heterosexual couples.[153] On 26 July 2011, the Court ordered the Congress to pass the legislation giving same-sex couples similar rights to marriage in two years (by 20 June 2013). Such a law was defeated[154][155][156] In April 2016, the Colombian Constitutional Court voted 6-3 to allow same-sex marriage, with the ruling taking effect immediately.[157]

In 2015, the Colombian Constitutional Court ruled that gay couples can adopt children, the same as straight couples.


The 2008 new constitution made Ecuador the first country in South America where same sex civil union couples are legally recognized as a family and share all the same rights of married heterosexual couples (except for adoption).[citation needed]


Main article: LGBT rights in Peru

In April 2014, legislator Carlos Bruce received a petition signed by 10 thousand people in favor of allowing civil unions for gay couples.[158] Bruce, who put forward the change in the law in September last year, hopes that it will alleviate the discrimination faced by gay Peruvians.

The bill was scheduled to be debated on 7 April in front of the Commission of Justice and Human Rights, but ultimately was postponed until after Easter. While the country has a history of rejecting bills that protect gay people, supporters and allies are hopeful that the Peruvian Congress will move forward with the bill.[159]

In June 2014, bills taking on different forms of recognition, some with more rights than others, were discussed in Congress. After a dramatic debate, it was decided by politician Carlos Bruce, who had earlier announced to the public that he was gay, that the original Civil Union bill he submitted with more rights should be voted on separately from other proposals. More than one bill allowing for recognition of same-sex relationships will be discussed in the next parliamentary session which begins in August.[160]


Uruguay became the first country in South America to allow civil unions (for both opposite sex and same-sex couples) in a national platform on 1 January 2008.

Children can be adopted by same-sex couples since 2009.[161][162] A same-sex marriage bill passed in the Chamber of Deputies in December 2012,[163][164] as well as in the Senate in April 2013 but with minor amendments. The amended bill was approved by the Chamber of Deputies in a 71–21 vote on 10 April and then on 3 May 2013 got the signature from the President.[165] The law took effect on 5 August 2013.[166]

Religious recognition[edit]

The religious status of same-sex marriage has been changing since the late 20th century and varies greatly among different world religions.

Among Christian churches, same-sex marriage is not recognized by the Roman Catholic church, Orthodox churches, or conservative Protestant churches. Many mainline Protestant churches recognize same-sex unions, while other Protestant churches remain divided.

Among Jewish communities, Reform Jewish communities are the most supportive of same-sex unions, while Conservative Jewish communities are more divided. Same-sex marriage is not recognized by Orthodox Jewish communities.


Some religious institutions that recognize same-sex relationships avoid using the terms "marriages" or "weddings", and instead call them "blessings" or "unions." Some religious groups allow individual congregations to set their own policies regarding the blessing of same-sex relationships.

The following institutions have recognized same-sex relationships in some fashion, either as individual congregations or as a denomination-wide policy:


The following denominations accept same-sex unions to some degree:

  • Anglicanism (See Homosexuality and Anglicanism): The Anglican community is divided on the issue of recognizing same-sex unions, particularly in the US.[167]
    • Anglican Church of Canada: In 2016, the Anglican Church of Canada voted to permit same-sex marriage. Though it was originally announced that the vote had failed by one vote, it was revealed after a recount that the motion had actually passed.[citation needed] The motion must pass a second reading in 2019 to become church law.[168] The dioceses of Niagara and Ottawa announced that same-sex marriages could begin in their churches immediately.[169][170] Several other dioceses allow same-sex blessing ceremonies.[citation needed]
    • Episcopal Church (United States): At its 2015 triennial General Convention, the Episcopal Church voted overwhelmingly to allow religious weddings for same-sex couples. Many dioceses had previously allowed their priests to officiate at civil same-sex marriage ceremonies, but the church had not yet changed its own laws on marriage. The church law replaced the terms "husband" and "wife" with "the couple". Individual members of the clergy may still decline to perform same-sex weddings[171]
  • Baptists (See: Homosexuality and Baptist churches): Because Baptist churches operate on a congregational level, some individual churches may recognize same-sex unions.[citation needed]. Baptist churches which recognize same-sex unions include:
  • Lutheranism (See Homosexuality and Lutheranism):
    • Church of Sweden: On 22 October 2009, the governing board of the Church of Sweden voted 176–62[174] in favour of allowing its priests to wed same-sex couples in new gender-neutral church ceremonies, including the use of the term marriage.[87][175] Same-sex marriages in the church will be available starting 1 November 2009.[176]
    • Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD): The EKD is a federation of twenty Protestant churches in Germany. Some of the member churches permit their priests to bless unions of same-sex couples.[citation needed]
    • Evangelical Lutheran Church in America: During its 2009 Churchwide Assembly the ELCA passed a resolution by a vote of 619–402 reading "Resolved, that the ELCA commit itself to finding ways to allow congregations that choose to do so to recognize, support and hold publicly accountable lifelong, monogamous, same-gender relationships."[177]
    • Evangelical Lutheran Church in Denmark: In 2012, the Danish parliament voted to make same-sex marriages mandatory in all state churches. Individual priests may refuse to perform the ceremony, but the local bishop must organize a replacement.[178]
    • Federation of Swiss Protestant Churches: This is a group of 26 member churches. Several of its member churches permit prayer services and blessings of same-sex unions.[citation needed]
    • Protestant Church in the Netherlands: The church allows the blessing of same-sex marriages.[citation needed]
    • The United Protestant Church of France authorised the blessing of same-sex unions by pastors in May 2015, two years after the government legalized same-sex marriages. Individual vicars may refuse to perform same-sex marriage ceremonies.[179]
  • The Metropolitan Community Church perform same-sex marriages. The MCC was founded to support LGBT Christians. In 1968, MCC founder Rev. Troy Perry officiated the first public same-sex marriage ceremony in the United States, though it was not legally recognized at the time.[180][181]
  • Old Catholic Church: A group of churches which separated from Roman Catholicism over the issue of papal authority.
  • Presbyterianism (See Homosexuality and Presbyterianism):
    • The Presbyterian Church (USA), the largest Presbyterian group in the United States, voted to allow same-gender marriages on 19 June 2014. This vote allows pastors to perform marriages in jurisdictions where same-sex marriages are legally recognized. Additionally, the Assembly voted to send out a proposed amendment to the Book of Order, changing the description of marriage from "between a man and a woman" to "between two people, traditionally between a man and a woman." This amendment needed to be approved by a majority of the 172 Presbyteries to take effect.[183] On 17 March 2015, the New Jersey-based Presbytery of the Palisade became the 87th presbytery to approve the ratification, making the change official.[184]
  • Quakerism (See Homosexuality and Quakerism)
  • United Church of Canada: The General Council of the church accepts same-sex marriages. However, each individual congregation is free to develop its own marriage policies.[185]
  • United Church of Christ: In 2005, the General Synod adopted a resolution supporting equal access to marriage for all couples, regardless of gender. This resolution encouraged (but did not require) individual congregations to adopt policies supporting equal marriage rights for same-sex couples.[186]


  • Conservative Judaism: In 2012, the Committee on Jewish Law and Standards approved two model wedding ceremonies which can be adapted for the needs of same-sex couples. In 2013, the Rabbinical Assembly noted that they recognize both same-sex and opposite-sex marriages. However, individual synagogues are not required to adopt these policies, and may not perform marriages for same-sex couples.[187]
  • Reconstructionist Judaism: Of the four leading Jewish denominations, Reconstructionist Judaism is often considered the most welcoming of LGBT people. In 2004, the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association approved a resolution supporting civil marriage rights for same-sex couples.[188]
  • Reform Judaism: Reform Judaism is the largest Jewish denomination in the United States, and is generally welcoming to LGBT people. In 1996, the Central Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR) announced its support for civil same-sex marriage rights. This was followed by a similar resolution from the Union for Reform Judaism in 1997. In 2000, the CCAR gave its full support to rabbis who officiate same-sex weddings. This resolution also recognizes that some Reform rabbis will not officiate same-sex weddings.[189]


  • Afro-Brazilian religions: These faiths may support same-sex marriages, but this is up to individual interpretation. They historically tend to have been openly LGBT-positive even among variants heavily influenced by Christianity and Allan Kardec's Spiritism.[190]
    • Umbanda priests and priestesses may marry same-sex couples. One priestess describes same-sex marriages by saying "In umbanda this is accepted... We carry out marriages of love."[191][192]
  • Buddhism (See Buddhism and sexual orientation): Because Buddhism has no central authority, there is no general consensus on same-sex marriage within Buddhism.[193] Same-sex marriages are performed at Shunkō-in, a Rinzai Zen Buddhist temple in Kyoto, Japan.[194] American Soka Gakkai Buddhists have performed same-sex union ceremonies since the 1990s.[195]
  • Hinduism (See Hinduism and LGBT topics): Because there is no central authority in Hinduism, attitudes toward same-sex marriage vary greatly. Some Hindu groups recognize same-sex marriages.[196] Srinivasa Raghavachariar, head priest of the Srirangam temple, believes that same-sex lovers were cross-sex lovers in their former lives. In 2002, a Shaiva priest was interviewed after performing a same-sex wedding; he stated that marriage is a union of two spirits, which are neither male nor female. Hinduism has long acknowledged people of a "third gender", which would include people categorized as homosexual, bisexual, and transgender in the Western World. However, many Hindu groups do not support same-sex marriage or relationships.[197]
  • Many Japanese new religions – individual interpretation in spite of some commonly-held heterosexist instances in many, such as for example seicho-no-ie.[190]
  • Neo-Pagan
  • Raëlism
  • Spiritism – individual interpretation. Heterosexist instances common, but not to the point of supporting discrimination.[190]
  • Unitarian Universalism: In 1984, the Unitarian Universalist Association overwhelmingly voted to approve religious blessings of same-sex unions. They became the first major American church to do so.[198]

Not recognized[edit]

The following religious traditions or institutions do not recognize same-sex marriage or unions in any congregation, and may view same-sex relationships as immoral.





See also[edit]


  1. ^ Excluding Aruba, Curaçao and St Maarten.
  2. ^ Excluding the Faroe Islands. Took effect in Greenland on 1 April 2016.
  3. ^ Excluding Tokelau, Niue and the Cook Islands.
  4. ^ Excluding Northern Ireland, Jersey, Guernsey and most British Overseas Territories (same-sex marriage is legal in the Pitcairn Islands).
  5. ^ Excluding most Native American tribes. (Same-sex marriage is legal in 24 of them). Application to American Samoa unclear.


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