Where Can Gays Legally Marry?

Here's a list of Countries and States

Lesbian couple smile at each other during wedding ceremony
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There are many places in the world where gays and lesbians can get married or obtain civil unions. Here are a list of places where same-sex couples can get legally married or enter in some kind of legally recognized partnership. This list will be updated as things change.

Gay Marriage


  • It is now legal for gays and lesbians to marry every place in Canada. There is no residency requirement for Canadian marriage, but that does not mean a Canadian gay marriage will be recognized by other countries.
    How to Get Married in Canada


  • Sweden became the seventh country to legalize same-sex marriage on April 1, 2009. Marriage licenses for same-sex couples became available beginning May 1, 2009. Couples who are currently in civil partnership can chose to keep that status or have it amended to marriage.
  • Norway became the sixth country to legalize same-sex marriage on May 11, 2008.
  • Denmark legalized same-sex marriage in 2012.
  • Netherlands (Holland) has full marriage and registered partnership rights for same sex or opposite sex couples.
  • Belgium in 2003 became the second country in the world to allow gay and lesbian couples to marry. Since 2006, gay and lesbian couples have been allowed to adopt children.
  • Spain voted in June 2005 to extend full marriage rights to gay and lesbian citizens. The measure adds one sentence to existing Spanish marriage law: Marriage will have the same requirements and results when the two people entering into the contract are of the same sex or of different sexes.
  • Portugal became the sixth European country to allow same-sex marriage with a law passed by parliament in January 2010 and signed by the president in May. Although same-sex marriage is now legal in Portugal, same-sex couples are not allowed to adopt children.
  • Iceland began to allow same-sex marriage in June 2010.
  • France legalized same-sex marriage in 2013.
  • England and Wales allows same-sex marriage as of March 29, 2014.

New Zealand

  • New Zealand legalized same-sex marriage in 2013.


  • South Africa legalized gay marriage on November 30th, 2006. South Africa has one of the most inclusive constitutions in the world, calling for equal rights for gays and lesbians.

The United States

In the United States gays and lesbians can legally marry in all 50 states. 

Central/South America

  • Mexico City, Mexico allows same-sex couples all the rights and responsibilities of marriage since March 2010, including the right to adopt children. By law, marriages entered into in Mexico City must be recognized elsewhere in the nation.
  • Argentina legalized same-sex marriage in July 2010.
  • Brazil. Same-sex marriage is legal is some parts of Brazil, but not in others.
  • Uruguay legalized same-sex marriage in August 2013.

Where can gays and lesbians get civil unions or domestic partnerships?

Gay marriages are allowed in some countries. Other places allow gay civil unions or domestic partnership agreements. Here is a listing of places gays and lesbians can obtain some legal recognition for their relationships.

United States:

  • California: Gay and lesbian couples can register as domestic partners in California. Couples who register are eligible for many of the same state rights as heterosexual married couples, but only in the state of California. The rights of civil unions do not transfer from state to state like marriage does.
  • Hawaii beginning January 1, 2012 same sex couples can get civil unions in Hawaii.
  • Nevada domestic partnerships offer all of the same state wide benefits of marriage.
  • Oregon offers a comprehensive domestic partnership law that offers all the state benefits of marriage.
  • Illinois: Civil unions are offered in Illinois beginning June 1, 2011
  • Delaware will allow civil unions beginning January 1, 2012.
  • Wisconsin has a domestic partnership law that some limited statewide spousal rights including inheritance rights, hospital visitation rights and family medical leave rights.
  • Colorado has designated beneficiaries which allows unmarried couples to make certain decisions about each other's health care and estate in medical emergencies or death.


  • Liechtenstein, a tiny country of 35,000 people between Switzerland and Austria approved civil partnerships in June 2011. The law is based on the Swiss law and therefore does not allow same-sex couples to adopt children.
  • Finland offers civil unions in which same-sex couples have similar rights to marriage, such as joint custody of children and immigration rights.
  • France has a Civil Solidarity Pact which grants same or opposite sex partners rights of next of kin, inheritance, social security, and tax benefits.
  • Germany recognizes next of kin and property inheritance rights for same sex couples who register as partners.
  • United Kingdom. Since December 2005 gays and lesbians in the United Kingdom have been eligible to register for Civil Partnerships. Gay and lesbian couples who register will receive some of the same rights as married couples, including accident compensation, life insurance, immigration, inheritance, spouse and child support and workplace benefits.
  • Switzerland offers registered partnership with some of the benefits of marriage, but NOT adoption rights or the right to fertility treatments.


  • Israel. In December 2004, Israel announced it will give limited rights to same-sex couples. The attorney general has directed government offices to now recognize same-sex couples for monetary and property issues. The decision reverses a legal opinion that gay and lesbian couples cannot be sanctioned under Israeli law.
  • New Zealand. As of December 2004, gay and lesbian couples will be able to register their unions in New Zealand and receive many of the same rights as heterosexual married couples. The law allows couples to have a ceremony and the right to claim next-of-kin status when a partner dies and have control over a partner's medical treatment.

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