Same-Sex Marriage

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With the recent United States Supreme Court ruling on same-sex union that ensures marriage licences be granted and recognised to same-sex couples, we look at the significant events for such freedom, all over the world.

Countries Where it is Legal

• THE NETHERLANDS: 1 April 2001 The Netherlands was the first country to allow same-sex couples the right to marry in 2001, when their Parliament voted 107-33 to eliminate discrimination from their marriage laws

• BELGIUM: 1 June 2003 Belgium became the second country to legalise equal marriage when King Albert II approved the bill on 13 February 2003, which had previously been passed by the Senate and Chamber of Representatives

• SPAIN: 3 July 2005 The then newly elected prime minister, José Luis Rodríguez, proposed to legalise same sex marriage and the Parliament voted 187 to 147 in favour

• CANADA: 20 July 2005 The House of Commons in Canada passed the Civil Marriage Act and provided a gender neutral definition of marriage

• SOUTH AFRICA: 30 November 2006 Their parliament voted, 230 to 41in favour of same-sex marriage making the nation the first in Africa to do so


 “..Same-sex marriages cannot be discussed in the context of a country where ignorance is ruling minds. Violations of rights to equality regarding sex and discriminations of human rights are still strong in this country..”

 – Ashok Row Kavi, Founder, The Humsafar Trust


• NORWAY: 1 January 2009 The parliament approved a gender neutral marriage

• SWEDEN: 1 May 2009 The proposal was approved by the Swedish parliament by a 261 to 22 vote, with only 16 abstentions

• PORTUGAL: 5 June 2010 Sanctioned by the president, the law was passed in January 2010 and brought into effect on 5 June 2010

• ICELAND: 27 June 2010 Iceland’s parliament unanimously voted, 49 to 0 in favour of the law on 11 June that year

• ARGENTINA: 22 July 2010 Argentina became the first country in Latin America to uphold the freedom for same-sex marriage

• DENMARK: 15 June 2012 On 18 January 2012, the government of Danish prime minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt introduced a gender-neutral marriage bill that took effect later on 15 June

• FRANCE: 18 May 2013 The bill signed was approved with an overwhelming support in both houses of the French Parliament by a 331-225 final vote in the Assembly and 179-157 final vote in the Senate

• URUGUAY: 5 August 2013 Uruguay became the third country in Latin America to end the exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage

• NEW ZEALAND: 19 August 2013 The parliament in New Zealand took a final decision to end the exclusion of same-sex marriage and was met with a positive response

• UNITED KINGDOM: 29 March 2014 Same-sex couples first began marrying in England and Wales and was followed by Scotland

• BRAZIL: 14 May 2014 Despite some initial reservations from a few jurisdictions, 14 of Brazil’s 27 jurisdictions gave their consent to the freedom to marry

• FINLAND: 28 November 2014 Finland became the 12th European state to legalise marriage between same-sex couples

• LUXEMBOURG: 1 January 2015 The Luxembourg Chamber of Deputies enacted the legalisation bill on 18 June 2014

• IRELAND: 22 May 2015 On 22 May 2015, Ireland became the first country in the world to approve the freedom to marry by popular referendum

• UNITED STATES: 26 June 2015 The United States Supreme Court ruled in favour of same-sex union


“..I can’t express my despair at the fact how human rights are stuck between courts and Parliament in our country in this 21st century! Even the minister for law took a weak stand in this regard by going back on his stand on Section 377. It’s brutal to criminalise a person for his normal sexual expressions..”

– Anjal i Gopalan, founder, The Naz Foundation Trust


Countries Moving Forward Towards Marriage

• Slo venia

• Australia

• Colombia

Countries with Regional freedom to Marry

• Mexico : Same-sex couples have the freedom to marry in three of Mexico’s 31 states (Chihuahua, Coahuila, and Quintana Roo) and the Federal District

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