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On Wednesday, after facing stiff resistance from conservative group
Family First, the New Zealand parliament passed a bill legalizing
same-sex marriage, according to NPR.
The move comes a week after the French senate voted to legalize gay marriage despite the 340,000 people who had previously protested in opposition
at the Eiffel Tower. Before that, Uruguay's parliament voted to become
the second country in Latin America to recognize gay marriage despite
strong Catholic opposition, according to The Guardian.
(Argentina is the other Latin American country where same-sex marriage
is legal.) The bills in New Zealand, France, and Uruguay are all
expected to be signed into law.
As more and more politicians in the United States move toward supporting gay marriage, a look at countries around the world where it is already legal for same-sex couples to wed:
The Netherlands, 2000
The Dutch parliament made history in 2000 when it made it legal for same-sex couples to marry, divorce, and adopt children by a 3-to-1 vote margin. Today, there are 16,000 married same-sex couples in the Netherlands, where gay marriage enjoys an approval rating of 82 percent — the highest in the European Union.
While there wasn't much of an
uproar in Belgium when the country's parliament legalized gay marriage,
the Vatican was outraged, prompting Pope John Paul II to launch a global campaign saying that "homosexual unions were immoral, unnatural and harmful."
It took a two-year journey filled with court battles before Canada's house of commons voted to make gay marriage legal
in the entire country, as opposed to just in nine out of the 13
provinces and territories. Social conservatives tried to overturn the
law in 2006 but failed.
While Spain extended marriage rights
to same-sex couples in 2005, the law has since faced fierce opposition
from conservative politicians, including a court challenge that was defeated in 2012. In March, interior minister Jorge Fernandez Diaz remarked that gay marriage should be banned because it doesn't guarantee the "survival of the species."
South Africa, 2006In 2005, South Africa's Constitutional Court ruled that preventing gay marriage violated the country's young constitution, which was adopted not long after the end of Apartheid. The court-mandated law passed easily in parliament the following year.
In 1993, Norway was the second
country, after Denmark in the late '80s, to allow civil unions between
same-sex partners. The Norwegian government later legalized same-sex
marriage in 2009. The main controversy at that time was whether lesbian
mothers had the right to artificial insemination; they won that right
when the parliament voted to approve gay marriage by a margin of 2 to 1.
Sweden, like Norway, allowed civil unions in the mid-'90s and eventually gave gay couples full marriage rights by a large majority in parliament.
Every single one
of the 49 members of Iceland's parliament voted "Yes" on gay marriage.
Shortly after the law was passed, the country's prime minister, Johanna
Sigurdardottir, married her longtime partner, writer Jonina Leosdottir.
Portugal's conservative president Anibal Cavaco Silva signed the country's gay marriage bill
into law after initially asking the country's highest court to review
it, hoping to undo what Portugal's Socialist-led parliament had passed.
Same-sex couples in Portugal are still not allowed to adopt children.
The predominantly Catholic
country became the first Latin American nation to legalize gay marriage
by the narrow vote of 33 to 27. Pope Francis, then known as Cardinal
Jorge Bergoglio, called the bill a "destructive attack on God's plan."
Denmark, the first country to allow same-sex civil unions in the late '80s, fully legalized gay marriage in 2012, allowing same-sex couples to get married in churches and adopt children.
Countries where gay marriage is partly legal: Brazil, Mexico, United States