This FAQ answers some of the most frequently asked questions about gay marriages. There are now a growing number of U.S. states, Washington DC and many countries in the world that recognize same-sex marriage.
Note: The information in this article was accurate when it was published. It is important that you verify all information with your local marriage license office or county clerk before making any wedding or travel plans. Please notify us of any oversights or errors.
Q. What countries and states in the U.S. currently allow same-sex marriage?A.
- The Netherlands/Holland, 2001.
- Belgium, 2003.
- Massachusetts, USA, 2004.
- Canada, 2005.
- Spain, 2005.
- South Africa, 2006.
- Connecticut, USA, 2008.
- Norway, 2009.
- Coquille Tribe, tribal jurisdiction USA, 2009.
- Iowa, USA, 2009.
- Sweden, 2009.
- Vermont, USA, 2009.
- New Hampshire, USA, 2010.
- Mexico City, Mexico, 2010.
- District of Columbia, USA, 2010.
- Portugal, 2010.
- Iceland, 2010.
- Argentina, 2010.
- Suquamish Tribe, tribal jurisdiction USA, 2011.
- New York, USA, 2011.
- Washington, USA, 2012.
- Uruguay, 2012.
- Maine, USA, 2012.
- Denmark, 2012.
- Maryland, USA, 2013.
- Brazil, 2013.
- Minnesota, USA, 2013.
- Rhode Island, USA, 2013.
- Delaware, USA, 2013.
- Santa Ysabel Tribe, tribal jurisdiction USA, 2013.
- New Zealand, 2013.
- Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians, tribal jurisdiction USA, 2013.
- New Zealand, 2013.
- Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians, tribal jurisdiction USA, 2013.
- France, 2013.
- California, USA, 2013.
- New Mexico, USA. 2013.
- New Jersey, USA, 2013.
- Hawaii, USA, 2013.
- Illinois, USA, 2013.
- Utah. USA, 2013. Halted January 2014 by U.S. Supreme Court.
- England, 2014.
- Wales, 2014.
- Scotland, 2014.
Q. Can anyone get married in these countries?A. In both Canada and Belgium there are no restrictions regarding nationality.
There is a long residency requirement in the Netherlands.
Q. Will these marriages be recognized in the United States?A. For now, some legal experts are saying yes. They will be legally binding unions. Other experts are saying not necessarily since some states believe they aren't obligated to validate marriages from another locale.
Neal Katyal, of Georgetown University Law School, in an interview with Aaron Brown on CNN NewsNight stated, "No, it does not and the reason is that that general recognition principle of marriages has always had an important exception, the public policy exception, so that if a marriage violated the public policy of the American government or the state, then it wouldn't necessarily be valid...many times states have said we're not bound, we're not obligated to give credit to your marriage if it violates our own notion of public policy."
Q. How does Canada now define marriage?A. The new national policy approved by the Canadian Cabinet on June 17, 2003, views marriage as a way to publicly recognize a committed relationship between two adults.
Q. Will churches be required to perform same-sex weddings throughout the world?A. No. The laws apply to civil weddings only.
Q. Aren't same-sex marriages and registered partnerships the same?A. No. Although registered partnerships give same-sex couples most of the benefits and protections of civil marriage, the couples are not legally married.
Note: The rights available to same-sex couples vary from country to country.