Legal Recognition and Alternative Legal Protections
- Same-sex marriage is performed in the Netherlands proper, including the Caribbean Netherlands.
- Same-sex marriage is registered in Aruba, Curaçao, and Sint Maarten, but the rights of marriage are not guaranteed.
- Same-sex marriage is neither performed nor recognized in Niue, Tokelau, or the Cook Islands.
- Same-sex marriage is neither performed nor recognized in six British Overseas Territories.
- Same-sex marriage is neither performed nor recognized in some tribal nations. It is recognized but not performed in several other tribal nations and American Samoa.
- Cohabitation and registered foreign marriages confer limited rights.
- Some cities recognize and issue partnership certificates, although they are not legally binding.
- Recognition of a declaration of family relationship can be useful in matters such as housing, but they are not legally binding.
- Guardianship agreements provide limited legal benefits, including decisions about medical and personal care.
- Inheritance, guardianship rights, and residency rights are granted for foreign spouses of legal residents.
Global Perspective and Adoption and Constitutional Restrictions
- Same-sex marriage is legally recognized in a large majority of the world's developed democracies.
- Notable exceptions to legal recognition include Italy, Japan, South Korea, Greece, and the Czech Republic.
- Same-sex marriage is not yet recognized in any of the world's Islamic polities.
- Some countries, such as China and Russia, restrict advocacy for same-sex marriage.
- Estonia is the most recent country to legalize same-sex marriage, with Greece expected to pass it in February 2024.
- Most states with same-sex marriage allow same-sex couples to jointly adopt.
- 35 countries have constitutional definitions of marriage that prevent same-sex marriage.
- Some countries with constitutionally mandated Islamic law prohibit same-sex marriage.
- Homosexuality itself is criminalized in six countries with constitutional restrictions on same-sex marriage.
- Records of marriage between men date back to the first century.
Social and Scientific Support
- Major medical and scientific communities support same-sex marriage.
- Human rights and civil rights organizations also support same-sex marriage.
- Polls consistently show rising support for same-sex marriage in developed and developing countries.
- Scientific studies show that marriage enhances the well-being of gay people and their children.
- Exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage stigmatizes and invites discrimination against gay and lesbian people.
Historical and Contemporary Context
- Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13 in the Bible mention acts in Egypt and Canaan that included same-sex marriage.
- Scholars believe that in the early Roman Empire, male couples celebrated traditional marriage rites.
- Emperor Nero in ancient Rome celebrated two public weddings with males.
- Emperor Elagabalus in the 3rd century AD was the bride in a wedding to his male partner.
- Roman law did not recognize marriage between males, but there were disapprovals and expectations for official registration.
- The first same-sex couple to be legally married in modern times were Michael McConnell and Jack Baker in Minnesota in 1971.
- The modern movement in support of same-sex marriage began in the 1980s or 1990s.
- Denmark became the first country to legally recognize same-sex relationships in 1989.
- The Netherlands became the first country to legalize same-sex marriage in 2001.
- Same-sex marriage has been established by law in 34 other countries, with uneven spread across continents.
International Court Rulings and Other Arrangements
- European Court of Human Rights ruled in Schalk and Kopf v Austria in 2010 that same-sex unions are protected under art. 8 and art. 14 of ECHR.
- European Court of Justice ruled in 2018 that married same-sex couples have residency rights in EU countries.
- Inter-American Court of Human Rights ruled in 2018 that legal recognition of same-sex marriage is mandated by the American Convention on Human Rights.
- The ruling applies to countries such as Costa Rica, Ecuador, Barbados, Bolivia, and more.
- Governments must recognize and guarantee all rights derived from same-sex family bonds.
- Civil unions are being considered in countries like Lithuania, Peru, the Philippines, Poland, South Korea, and Ukraine.
- Some countries have enacted constitutional bans on same-sex marriage, while others have adopted constitutions specifying marriage as between a man and a woman.
- Some countries have restrictions and limitations on same-sex marriage through legislation.
- European Parliament called for the implementation of the European Court of Justice ruling across the EU.
- The Inter-American Court of Human Rights recommended temporary recognition of same-sex marriage until new legislation is brought in.
Same-sex marriage Data Sources