So far, more than two dozen countries have enacted national laws allowing gays and lesbians to marry, mostly in Europe and the Americas. In Mexico, some jurisdictions allow same-sex couples to when were same sex marriages legalized in canada, while others do not. 7, 2017, the Australian Parliament passed legislation allowing gay and lesbian couples to legally wed.
Along with New Zealand, Australia became the second country in the Asia-Pacific region to to make same-sex marriage legal. Malta’s parliament almost unanimously voted to legalize same-sex marriage in July 2017, despite opposition from the Catholic Church on the small Mediterranean island. On June 30, 2017, Germany became the 15th European country to enact legislation allowing same-sex couples to wed. On April 28, 2016, Colombia became the fourth country in Catholic-majority South America to legalize same-sex marriage, following Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil. Eleven years after same-sex marriage was first made legal in Massachusetts, the U. Supreme Court ruled that the Constitution guarantees it throughout the country. Before the ruling, 36 states and the District of Columbia had legalized same-sex marriage.
See a timeline highlighting changes in state policies from 1995-2015. Greenland, an autonomous territory of Denmark, was not subject to Denmark’s same-sex marriage law, which was enacted in 2012. However, legislators in Greenland passed a bill in May 2015 to legalize same-sex marriage on the world’s biggest island. On May 22, 2015, Catholic-majority Ireland became the first country to legalize same-sex marriage through a popular referendum. Same-sex marriage will become legal in Finland starting in 2017. The Finnish Parliament approved a bill legalizing same-sex unions in November 2014, and Finland’s president, Sauli Niinistö, signed the measure into law in February 2015.
Finland becomes the last of the five Nordic countries to legalize same-sex marriage, joining Denmark, Iceland, Norway and Sweden. On June 18, Luxembourg’s parliament, the Chamber of Deputies, overwhelmingly approved legislation that will allow gay and lesbian couples to wed and to adopt children. The bill, which took effect in early 2015, was championed by the country’s prime minister, Xavier Bettel, who is openly gay. In addition to allowing same-sex couples to marry and adopt, the legislation sets the legal age of marriage at 18 and eliminates the existing requirement that couples who want to marry must first submit to a medical exam. 4, 2014, the Scottish Parliament voted overwhelmingly to approve legislation legalizing same-sex marriage.
In addition to allowing same-sex couples to wed, the measure gives churches and other religious groups the option of deciding whether or not they want to conduct such marriages. The law took effect and same-sex couples began marrying in Scotland in December 2014. The day before, the measure had won final passage in the British Parliament after months of debate. The law only applies to England and Wales because Scotland and Northern Ireland are semi-autonomous and have separate legislative bodies to decide many domestic issues, including the definition of marriage. The new law in England and Wales, which was a priority for British Prime Minister and Conservative Party leader David Cameron, allowed gay and lesbian couples to marry beginning March 29, 2014. However, the law prohibits same-sex weddings within the Church of England, which continues to define marriage as between one man and one woman. On May 14, 2013, Brazil’s National Council of Justice ruled that same-sex couples should not be denied marriage licenses, allowing same-sex marriages to begin nationwide.