June 26 marks the fifth anniversary of gay marriage being legalized across the entire United States.
To commemorate this milestone in LGBTQ history, we are taking a look at countries around the world that have officially legalized same-sex marriage. Nearly 30 out of 195 countries have passed laws allowing gay marriage, according to the Pew Research Center.
Below is a timeline for the countries where same-sex marriage is officially legal. The year marks when the law was first enacted in that country.
2000: The Netherlands
The country became the first in the world to legalize same-sex marriage. The following year, four couples married in the world’s first same-sex wedding in 2001. [Associated Press]
Three years after the new law was enacted, the country’s parliament granted same-sex couples the right to adopt in 2006. [Pew Research Center]
The nation's traditional definition of civil marriage was changed to include the union between same-sex couples. [Pew Research Center]
The new law gave same-sex couples all of the same marital and adoption rights as heterosexual citizens. [Pew Research Center]
2006: South Africa
The measure passed by a margin of greater than five-to-one with support from major opposing political parties. [Pew Research Center]
One year after legalizing same-sex marriage, the country’s Lutheran Church voted to allow its pastors to marry same-sex couples in 2009. [Pew Research Center]
Months before the bill passed in October 2009, the country’s governing church board initiated a petition to permit same-sex marriages. [Pew Research Center]
Argentina was the first country in Latin America to legalize same-sex marriage. [Pew Research Center]
Six years after Portugal's parliament legalized same-sex marriage, the country granted gay couples the right to adopt. [Reuters]
Iceland legalized same-sex marriage in a unanimous vote. [Pew Research Center]
Prior to legalizing same-sex marriage, Denmark was the first country to recognize same-sex couples as domestic partners. [Pew Research Center]
The country’s inclusive legislation of LGBT rights began to attract thousands of tourists each year after same-sex marriage became legal in 2013. [National LGBT Chamber of Commerce]
Over 3,700 marriages took place in 2013 after same-sex marriage was legalized. [GLAAD]
2013: New Zealand
The measure to legalize same-sex marriage in New Zealand won approval by a 77-44 margin. [Pew Research Center]
2013: England and Wales
After the landmark decision was made, former U.K. Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said, "No matter who you are and who you love, we are equal." [BBC]
The first same-sex wedding took place in France and was greatly supported by the public. [BBC]
The new law was the first major reform of the country’s marriage laws since 1804. [Pew Research Center]
Three years after the majority of the Scottish Parliament voted to legalize same-sex marriage, the Scottish Episcopal Church became the U.K.'s first major Christian church to perform same-sex marriages. [BBC]
2015: United States
The hashtag #LoveWins almost immediately became the No. 1 trending hashtag in the world on Twitter after the U.S. legalized same-sex marriage.
Ireland was the first country to legalize same-sex marriage through a popular vote. [Pew Research Center]
A bill calling for the legislation of same-sex marriage started out as a "citizen's initiative" with a reported 167,000 signatures. [Pew Research Center]
The country's legislators passed a bill to legalize same-sex marriage on the world's biggest island. [Pew Research Center]
The country enacted the new law by a 6-3 vote: “All people are free to choose independently to start a family in keeping with their sexual orientation.” [Pew Research Center]
Parliament’s vote to legalize same-sex marriage was nearly unanimous despite criticism from the Catholic Church. [Pew Research Center]
The LGBT rights advocates celebrated the new law outside Australia’s Parliament House before the final decision was announced.
The country’s bill received an overwhelming amount of public support. Parliament approved the measure in a 393-226 vote. [Pew Research Center]
In 2010, the country allowed gay and lesbian couples to enter into a civil partnership, and on Jan. 1, 2019, Austria legalized same-sex marriage. Two Austrian women wed in the country's first legal same-sex marriage. [The Associated Press]
On May 17, Taiwan became the first country in Asia to allow same-sex marriages between gay and lesbian couples. Demonstrators, LGBTQ rights supporters and protesters filled the streets, awaiting the vote outside the parliament building in Taipei. LGBTQ activist Jay Lin told ABC News that he was "so happy to be living in Taiwan and witnessing that day."
Ecuador has become the 5th nation in Latin America to legalize same-sex marriage. The country's highest court approved same-sex marriage on June 12, 2019, marking the 50th anniversary of the worldwide gay equality movement. [Reuters]
2019: Northern Ireland
In October 2019, U.K. Parliament passed legislation to legalize same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland. The law went into action on January, 13, 2020 and made same-sex marriage legal in the entire United Kingdom.
Same-sex marriage has been legal in England, Scotland and Wales since 2014 but was not recognized by Northern Ireland’s legislature, Stormont. MPs at Westminster stepped in to change regulations for same-sex marriage and abortion following Stormont’s collapse. [BBC]
2020: Costa Rica
Costa Rica became the first country in Central America to recognize same-sex marriages after a landmark ruling from the country's Supreme Court went into effect on May 26, 2020. Daritza Araya and Alexandra Quirós were one of the first people to wed after the ban ended at midnight and the two women streamed the ceremony live online. The law went into effect in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic and the service was performed by a notary wearing a mask. [AP]
The Swiss Parliament adopted a bill that recognized same-sex marriage on Dec. 18, 2020. However, it was announced in April 2021 that critics of the law had gathered enough valid signatures to call for a national referendum, which will take place on Sept. 26, 2021.
The Swiss government said it is in favor of its “marriage for all” referendum in a written statement this June, saying that “couples of the same sex should have the same rights as couples of different sex.” If it passes, Switzerland would become the 30th country to legalize same-sex marriage. [Reuters]
This piece was originally published on June 22, 2018.