List of Countries Where Gay Marriage is Legal

Gay Marriages

The issue about allowing same-sex couples to marry is not just a recent topic of conversation. The debate has been around for years and decades, with governments deciding whether or not to give the same-sex couples the right to get legally married. The controversial debate has turned into a major political issue especially in the western countries.

Countries Where Gay Marriage is Legal

Around two dozen countries have legalized gay marriage by passing laws that are to be followed nationwide. The list of those countries is as below:

The Netherlands

Being the first country ever to pass legislation allowing same-sex couples to get married, and adopt children the Netherlands became a leading example in the world for many other nations in 2000.


In January of 2003, Belgium officially passed a law to allow same-sex couples to marry and later in 2006, gave them the right to adopt children as well. However, in 20004, the law was amended saying that same-sex couples could marry as long as one partner had lived in Belgium for at least three months.


From 1999, lesbian and gay couples in Canada have had common law marriage rights, but it was not until 2003 when gay marriage was legalized in 9 of the 13 provinces. In 2005, the law allowing gay couples to marry passed nationwide.


In 2005, equal legal rights were given to all married couples no matter their sexual orientation. There was a bit of opposition, but the government ruled out any suits against the national law.

South Africa

Even though the country legalized marriage rights for gay couples in 2006, the law also permitted religious and civic groups not to accept the same-sex marriages in their community.


Norway has allowed same-sex civil unions since 1993, but in 2008 the country made it legal for lesbian and gay couples to get married, adopt children or even get artificial insemination and fertility treatments.


Civil unions have been allowed for same-sex couples in Sweden since 1995, but gay marriage was not legalized until 2009 by a majority of the vote in the parliament.


In 2010, Argentina claimed the title of being the first country to legalize gay marriage in Latin America even though the law faced some backlash from the Protestant and Catholic Churches of the country.


In the year 2010, Iceland passed the law to allow gay couples to get married and adopt children after which the Prime Minister herself, Johanna Sigurdardottir, married her partner.


Portugal became the world’s eighth country to pass a law that legalized the marriage of same-sex couples even though they do not have the right to adopt.


Gay couples have had the right to register for partnerships and adopt children since 2010 in Denmark but the law legalizing their marriage passed in 2012.


Brazil passed a law that gave same-sex couples to marry in 2013 even though the Council has been appealed to rethink the decision.


France passed the law legalizing gay marriage in 2013 but the recent campaign to give them the rights to adopt has met with serious opposition.

New Zealand

In August of 2013, the law allowing same-sex couples to not only get married but adopt children came into effect making New Zealand the first Asian Pacific country to do so.

England & Wales

The law allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry passed in 2013 but it only affects the citizens of England and Wales.


Uruguay is the second Latin American country to legalize same-sex marriage after passing the law in 2013. They have had the rights to adopt since 2009.


Scotland took a vote, and the majority of the Parliament was in support of legalizing gay marriage. The law passed in 2014 but does give religious groups the right to decide whether they want to perform such marriages or not.


Luxembourg legalized gay marriage in 2014 and allowed gay couples to adopt children majorly due to the Prime Minister himself who identifies as homosexual.


Finland is the last Nordic country that legalized same-sex marriage in the year 2015, but it will go into effect in 2017.


In 2015, Ireland arranged a referendum which was won by popular vote allowing same-sex couples to marry becoming the first country to do so.


The homosexual community got the right to marry in Greenland in May of 2015 as the country was not subject to Denmark’s law that passed in 2012.

United States

Even though Massachusetts was the first state to legalize gay marriage in the United States, the law passed nationwide in 2015 allowing gay couples to marry.


The list of gay marriage countries added Colombia to it in the year 2016 after the law passed legalizing gay marriages nationwide.


In 2017, Germany became number 15 on the list of European countries that passed legislation allowing for gay and lesbian couples to get married legally.


The Mediterranean island of Malta passed the law that allowed legal rights to gay and lesbian couples to get married in the country after a unanimous vote from the Parliament even though the Catholic Church immediately opposed the idea. The law passed in July of the year 2017.

In conclusion, there are about 25 countries that have passed laws allowing same-sex marriages to occur in their nations but some of them still face a substantial amount of backlash. Many countries allowed religious groups to decide on their own whether they want to allow the marriages to happen in their community or not. There are many countries left in the world that still heavily oppose the idea of homosexual couples getting the right to marry. Many countries are in the midst of changing and fighting such laws by launching campaigns to allow gay couples the rights to marry just like any other heterosexual couple. Many religious groups are also managing their protests and campaigns against the idea. It is safe to say that the world is, and will probably remain, divided on the topic for quite some time.

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