The time for full marriage equality finally came on June 26, 2015 with the Supreme Court`s decision in Obergefell v. Hodges. In a landmark 5-4 decision, marriage equality became the law of the land, granting same-sex couples the right to full and equal recognition before the law in all 50 states. A growing number of governments around the world are considering legally recognizing same-sex marriage. So far, 30 countries and territories have passed national laws allowing gays and lesbians to marry, mostly in Europe and America. In Mexico, some jurisdictions allow same-sex couples to marry, while others do not. Some states have moved proactively to abolish existing prohibitions on same-sex marriage. Greenland, an autonomous territory of Denmark, was not subject to the Danish law on same-sex marriage, enacted in 2012. However, Greenland lawmakers passed a law in May 2015 to legalize same-sex marriage on the world`s largest island. In 2015, Mexico`s Supreme Court issued a ruling that made it much easier for gay and lesbian couples to marry.
The decision gave same-sex couples the right to seek a court order against state laws prohibiting same-sex marriage; While it does not technically legalize same-sex partnerships nationwide, it is an important step in that direction. Mexico`s Supreme Court also ruled in favor of same-sex marriage in 2010, saying that same-sex marriages contracted in Mexico City were valid and should be accepted throughout the country (Mexico City legalized same-sex marriage in December 2009). Since 2011, the southern Mexican state of Quintana Roo has also allowed same-sex marriages. In 2014, the Congress of the northern state of Coahuila approved same-sex marriage, and in 2015, neighboring Chihuahua followed. A measure to legalize same-sex marriage was passed by Icelandic lawmakers in June 2010. Opinion polls conducted before the vote showed broad support for the measure, and no member of the country`s legislature voted against it. Iceland has allowed same-sex couples to register as life partners since 1996. A decade later, Parliament passed a law allowing same-sex couples to adopt children. Since January 2009, same-sex couples in Norway can legally marry, adopt children and undergo artificial insemination. The new law, passed in 2008, replaced a 1993 law that allowed registered partnerships.
It passed despite opposition from members of the Christian Democratic Party and the Progressive Party, as well as a public controversy over government funding of fertility treatments for lesbian couples. Across the country, HRC mobilized efforts to bring marriage equality to several states ahead of the Supreme Court`s final decision in 2015. We launched one of our largest field operations in New York City history, deployed 30 full-time organizers, and founded our New Yorkers for Marriage Equality campaign, which eventually led the state to adopt same-sex marriage in 2011. HRC has also invested millions of dollars in state election initiatives in places like Maine, Maryland, Minnesota and Washington. On June 12, Ecuador`s Constitutional Court ruled that same-sex couples have the right to marry. The decision, which went into effect immediately, makes the mountainous Andean state the fifth country in Latin America to allow gays and lesbians to marry. Supporters of same-sex marriage rejoice Friday outside the Supreme Court in Washington, D.C. after the U.S. Supreme Court issued a ruling on same-sex marriage.
The Supreme Court ruled that same-sex couples have the right to marry in all 50 states. Alex Wong/Getty Images Vivian Topping, director of advocacy and civic engagement at the Federation for Equality, an LGBTQ rights group, said in an interview that despite Alito`s assurance that Roe`s downfall doesn`t compromise previous decisions on marriage and contraception, „it`s hard to take that on your face.“ In June 2010, Portugal became the eighth country to legalize same-sex marriage. Its parliament passed the measure to legalize same-sex marriage in early 2010. But after its adoption, Portuguese President Anibal Cavaco Silva asked the Constitutional Court to review the measure. In April 2010, the Constitutional Court declared the law constitutionally valid. It was signed by Silva in May of the same year and entered into force a month later. Portugal`s same-sex marriage law does not give same-sex married couples the right to adopt children. But LGBTQ rights advocates fear that the barrage of state laws imposing new restrictions on transgender people could pave the way for banning same-sex marriage in many states if the Supreme Court overturns Obergefell. Malta`s parliament voted almost unanimously to legalize same-sex marriage in July 2017, despite opposition from the Catholic Church on the small Mediterranean island.
With the legalization of same-sex marriage, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Denmark (the State Church) is forced to allow same-sex couples to marry in churches. However, no member of the clergy of the Church is obliged to celebrate the marriage of a gay or lesbian couple. In addition, the law leaves it to other religious groups to decide whether or not same-sex marriages are allowed in their churches. Same-sex marriage became legal in Finland from 2017. The Finnish parliament passed a law legalizing same-sex partnerships in November 2014, and Finnish President Sauli Niinistö signed the measure into law in February 2015. The bill began as a „citizens` initiative“ – a public petition with 167,000 signatures. There are currently 32 countries where same-sex marriage is legal: Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Denmark, Ecuador, Finland, Germany, France, Iceland, Ireland, Luxembourg, Malta, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, United Kingdom, United States of America and Uruguay. Before Friday`s ruling, same-sex marriage had already been legalized in 37 states and the District of Columbia — either through legislative or electoral measures or by federal courts that lifted state bans. On May 14, 2013, Brazil`s Judicial Council ruled that same-sex couples should not be denied marriage licenses, allowing same-sex marriages to begin nationwide. (Previously, about half of Brazil`s 27 jurisdictions had allowed same-sex marriage.) The only opposition in parliament came from the Christian Democratic Party, which was not part of the governing coalition at the time. After the law came into force, the Protestant Church in the Netherlands, which at the time represented about 12% of the country`s population, announced that each municipality could decide whether or not to perform same-sex marriages. Although conservative Muslim and Christian groups continue to oppose the law, same-sex marriage is widely accepted by the Dutch public.
On June 30, 2017, Germany became the 15th European country to enact a law allowing same-sex couples to marry. The 393-226 vote in the country`s Bundestag (or parliament) came just days after German Chancellor Angela Merkel surprised many by saying members of her ruling CDU should be able to vote their conscience on the issue, even though the party is formally opposed to same-sex marriage. South Africa`s parliament legalized same-sex marriage in November 2006, a year after the country`s highest court ruled that previous marriage laws violated the South African Constitution`s guarantee of equality.