So Just Where Is Gay Marriage Legal In The World…
With the repeal of gay marriage in Maine, and New York deciding not to approve their gay marriage bill, it could feel like same sex marriage across the world is something of a lost cause. However the reality is if you take a look at how we’ve been doing globally, the roadway to gay marriage for all isn’t looking quite so bad, with the following countries allowing their gay and lesbian citizens to tie the knot:
Netherlands – Introducing registered partnerships in 1998 was the Netherlands first step in offering equal rights to same sex couples, but it wasn’t to be their final step with same sex marriages becoming legal on the 1st April 2001.
Belgium – Belgium became the second country in the world to say yes to gay marriage on January 30th 2003. To begin with the restrictions tied to it meant that marriages could only occur between couples if their country of origin allowed it, however since the end of 2004, any couple may marry as long as at least one has lived in Belgium for at least three months.
Canada – Becoming legal on July 20th 2006, Canada became the first country in the Americas, and the fourth in the to legalize gay marriage, being brought it into being via the Civil Marriage Act.
Spain – Whilst gay marriage was legalized in Spain in 2005, getting to that point wasn’t easy due to the opposition by Roman Catholic authorities to the move, believing it weakened the meaning of marriage.
South Africa – Becoming legal via the Civil Union Bill that was passed on 30 November 006, South African became the first country in Africa to legalize gay marriage, and only the second outside of Europe.
Norway – One of the most recent additions to the list of countries offering gay marriage is Norway. Making it legal via the gender neutral marriage bill on January 1, 2009, this move made Norway the sixth country to allow same-sex marriage.
Sweden – Another new addition for 2009 is Sweden. Legalizing gay marriage, like Norway, via a gender-neutral law on marriage, this came into being on 1st May 2009, and whilst it doesn’t convert existing registered partnerships these can be converted.
USA – Whilst the USA has stumbled recently in fight for marriage equality, it’s not a comletely lost cause with Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, and Vermont having all legalised gay marriage, with New Hampshire same-sex marriages beginning in January 2010, and if Congress do not interfere, the state of D.C could follow as early as March 2010.
(Nepal – Whilst Nepal are yet to legalise gay marriage it does look like a very likely prospect after announced by a leading gay activist in Nepal that the government had been ordered by the Supreme Court to draft a same sex marriage bill that could see gay marriage become a reality in Nepal in 2010)
Sound like a shorter list than you thought? Well that’s because whilst many countries offer the opportunity for same-sex couples to have a legally recognised partnership, they haven’t gone as far as to call it gay marriage with the following countries falling into such a category:
- Austria (begins 2010)
- Czech Republic
- New Caledonia
- New Zealand
- Wallis and Futuna
- United Kingdom
- USA – California, Colorado, District of Columbia, Hawaii, New Jersey, Nevada, Oregon, Washington and Wisconsin