A Quick Primer On International Gay Marriage

What Countries Allow Gay Marriage?

Same-sex marriage was first legalized in the Netherlands in 2001. In only sixteen years following, a lot of countries have followed suit. Belgium followed suit in 2003. It was another two years before Canada and Spain legalized same-sex marriage. As society and various government start to place more value on family status and LGBT rights, we have seen a rapid ascent to progress, and opened the conversation across nations in a ripple effect.

By 2009, Norway, Sweden, and South Africa had also follow in the steps of progress. 2010 made huge strides, seeing three countries legalize the practice: Portugal, Iceland, and Argentina. 2012 brought legal same-sex marriage to Denmark, and Brazil, France and New Zealand joined only a year later. During this decade, the United States had been having heated debates about legalizing same-sex marriage. Many states had legalized the practice, only to have marriages dissolved by propositions or ignored by the federal government. Finally, in 2015 the United States joined in legalizing gay marriage. Luxembourg and Ireland also legalized the practice, despite Ireland’s heavily conservative laws. Since 2015, three more countries have also legalized same-sex marriage. Finland, Germany, and Colombia all now recognize gay and lesbian couples.

What Does The Future Hold?

In only seventeen years, twenty countries have legalized gay marriage! Malta and Taiwan may well be legalizing gay marriage in the foreseeable future as well. In fact, Taiwan is set to legally recognize same-sex couples before May of 2019. The conversations continuing to happen around the globe are creating a better environment for gay and lesbian people by increasing acceptance and visibility. Marriage is not only important for social conventions, but it bears significant religious and cultural ties. Gay and lesbian people being included in their community traditions is important towards creating egalitarian societies. Furthermore, gay and lesbian married couples can adopt, benefit from tax breaks, and otherwise enjoy the perks of everyday society like anybody else.
It looks like the conversation will not slow down anytime soon. It’s important to note how quickly steam picked up once the Netherlands legalized gay marriage. All it takes is a single action for a butterfly effect to occur. There is something truly amazing how all it takes is one person to come forward and do the right thing, for other people to work up the courage, or to even start to recognize the plight of the oppressed to begin with. Hopefully, the coming years will bring yet more positive change.