Current Status International
30 August 2013
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The Netherlands (2001) was the first country to legalize same-sex marriages, with the first marriages performed in the Amsterdam City Hall on 1 April 2001. Since then, same-sex marriage has been recognized legally by Belgium (2003), Spain (2005), Canada (2005), South Africa (2006), Norway (2009), Sweden (2009), Portugal (2010), Iceland (2010), Argentina (2010), Denmark (2012), New Zealand (2013), Uruguay (2013), Brazil (2013), France (2013), Colombia (2013), and England and Wales (2013). Same-sex marriage is legally recognized within Mexico in Mexico City (2010) and in the Cancun area (2012).
Click name of continent to read marriage equality status for specific countries.
In the United States, same-sex marriages are recognized in its federal district, the District of Columbia (2010), and in thirteen states: Massachusetts (2004), Connecticut (2008), Iowa (for 4 hours in 2007 and from 2009 to the present), Vermont (2009), New Hampshire (2010), New York (2011), Washington (2012), Maine (2012) Maryland (2013), California (2013), Delaware (2013), Rhode Island (2013), and Minnesota (2013). Same-sex marriage is legally recognized by three Native American tribal jurisdictions: Oregon's Coquille Tribe (2008), Washington state's Suquamish Indian tribe (2011) and Michigan's Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians (2013). As of 27 August 2013 six counties in New Mexico are issuing legal marriage licenses to same-sex couples but marriage equality is not yet legal statewide. Please see our National Map (U.S.) and Marriage Equality State-by-State pages for detailed information on marriage equality in the United States.
A federal law enacted in 1996, the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), prevented the U.S. federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages. On 23 February 2011 the Obama Administration stated that it would no longer defend DOMA. A DOMA-related case, United States v. Windsor, was heard by the United States Supreme Court on 27 March 2013. On 26 June 2013 the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that DOMA was invalid.
Additonal resource from Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life: Gay Marriage Around the World