Where is same-sex marriage legal?
Same-sex marriage is legal in the Netherlands (2001), Belgium (2003), Canada (2005), Spain (2005), South Africa (2006), Norway (2009), Sweden (2009), Argentina (2010), Iceland (2010), Portugal (2010), Denmark (2012), France (2013), Brazil (2013), Uruguay (2013), New Zealand (2013), England and Wales (2014), Scotland (starting this fall) and Luxembourg (starting early 2015).
Same-sex marriages also have taken place on the Caribbean islands of Saba, a municipality of the Netherlands (2012), and Martinique, an overseas region of France (2013).
In Mexico, same-sex marriage is available in the Federal District (Mexico City) and the states of Coahuila and Quintana Roo -- and, for some couples who filed legal cases, in the states of Baja California, Chihuahua, Colima, Jalisco, Oaxaca and Yucatán. The marriages are recognized nationwide by Supreme Court order. Mexico has 31 states.
In Colombia, a handful of same-sex couples have managed to get married since September 2013, but the situation remains fluid. Latest here.
In Australia, same-sex couples were able to marry in the Australian Capital Territory from Dec. 7, 2013, to Dec. 12, 2013, under a special "same-sex marriage" law the territory enacted. On Dec. 12, Australia's High Court invalidated the law and the marriages, pointing out that marriage is a matter of federal law in Australia.
In the United States, same-sex marriage is legal in Massachusetts (2004), California (2008 for four months, then 2013 for good), Connecticut (2008), Vermont (2009), Iowa (2009), New Hampshire (2010), Washington, D.C. (2010), New York (2011), Maine (2012), Maryland (2012), Washington (2012), Delaware (2013), Rhode Island (2013), Minnesota (2013), New Jersey (2013), Hawaii (2013), New Mexico (2013), Oregon (2014), Pennsylvania (2014) and Illinois (2014). The U.S. has 50 states.
It also has been explicitly legalized within the Coquille Indian Tribe in Oregon (2009), The Suquamish Tribe in Washington state (2011), the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians in Michigan (2013), The Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation in Washington state (2013), the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians in Michigan (2013), the Iipay Nation of Santa Ysabel in California (2013), the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes in Oklahoma (2013), the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe in Minnesota (2013), and the Puyallup Tribe of Indians in Washington (2014).
Bans on same-sex marriage in Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah, Virginia and Wisconsin have been struck down by federal and/or state judges, but the rulings were stayed while they are on appeal. In Louisiana and Nevada, federal judges have upheld the states' bans. Those rulings, too, are being appealed. In the remaining 17 states that lack marriage equality, lawsuits have been filed but have not yet seen rulings.
On June 25, 2014, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit upheld the lower court's Utah decision, but stayed its mandate pending final disposition of the case. On July 18, 2014, the 10th Circuit upheld the strikedown of Oklahoma's ban, and issued a stay. On July 28, 2014, the 4th Circuit upheld the strikedown of Virginia's ban; it refused to issue a stay, but the U.S. Supreme Court did so on Aug. 20, one day before same-sex couples would have begun marrying. On Sept. 4, 2014, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit upheld the strikedowns of Indiana's and Wisconsin's bans. On Sept. 15, it stayed the decisions. In ruling the bans unconstitutional, Judge Richard Posner wrote: "The challenged laws discriminate against a minority defined by an immutable characteristic, and the only rationale that the states put forth with any conviction -- that same-sex couples and their children don't need marriage because same-sex couples can't produce children, intended or unintended -- is so full of holes that it cannot be taken seriously."
Posner went on: "Indiana's government thinks that straight couples tend to be sexually irresponsible, producing unwanted children by the carload, and so must be pressured (in the form of governmental encouragement of marriage through a combination of sticks and carrots) to marry, but that gay couples, unable as they are to produce children wanted or unwanted, are model parents -- model citizens really -- so have no need for marriage. Heterosexuals get drunk and pregnant, producing unwanted children; their reward is to be allowed to marry. Homosexual couples do not produce unwanted children; their reward is to be denied the right to marry. Go figure."
In Utah, 1,259 same-sex couples married over 18 days prior to the U.S. Supreme Court's staying a Salt Lake City federal judge's strikedown of the state's gay-marriage ban. In Michigan, 315 same-sex couples married in four counties on Saturday, March 22, 2014, before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit issued a stay. In Arkansas, 541 same-sex couples received marriage licenses before the Arkansas Supreme Court issued a stay a week after the May 9, 2014, strikedown. In Wisconsin, more than 500 same-sex couples married June 6-13, 2014, before a federal judge finalized her paperwork and issued a stay. In Indiana, some 800 same-sex couples married June 25-27, 2014, before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit issued a stay. In Colorado, more than 300 same-sex couples married in Boulder, Denver and Pueblo counties in June and July 2014 after various legal developments, including the state's marriage ban being struck down in both state and federal court. The three counties eventually were forced to stop issuing gay licenses by the state Supreme Court or Attorney General John Suthers, with Boulder being the final county shut down on July 29, 2014. Gov. John Hickenlooper supports same-sex marriage and has urged Suthers to stop defending the ban.
In U.S. states that do not allow or recognize same-sex marriage, married same-sex couples who live there are still recognized as married for many federal purposes, including income tax, immigration, military benefits and likely scores of other matters that always have been tied to whether a couple entered into a legal marriage anywhere in the world rather than to a state's marriage rules.