This article contains a timeline of significant events regarding same-sex marriage and legal recognition of same-sex couples worldwide. It begins with the history of same-sex unions during ancient times, which consisted of unions ranging from informal and temporary relationships to highly ritualized unions, and continues to modern-day state-recognized same-sex marriage. Events concerning same-sex marriages becoming legal in a country or in a country's state are listed in bold.

Summary of 21st century

The summary table below lists in chronological order the sovereign states (United Nations member states plus Taiwan) that have legalized same-sex marriage. As of October 2022, 33 states have legalized, either partially or in full, with one state pending.

Dates are when marriages between same-sex couples began to be officially certified. When distinguished, the initial date is the date of legalization in the first subnational jurisdiction (state, province or constituent country), and the second is the completion date for all jurisdictions, not counting external territories or (in the case of the US) semi-sovereign tribal jurisdictions. A dash indicates that same-sex marriage is not (yet) legal in all jurisdictions. This is the case for the Kingdom of the Netherlands, where the constituent countries of Aruba, Curaçao and Sint Maarten have not legalized.

Member state First jurisdiction National ruling or
final jurisdiction
 Netherlands 2001
 Belgium 2003
 Canada 2003 2005
 United States* 2004 2015
 Spain 2005
 South Africa 2006
 Norway 2009
 Sweden 2009
 Mexico 2010 2022
 Portugal 2010
 Iceland 2010
 Argentina 2010
 Brazil 2012 2013
 Denmark 2012 2017
 France 2013
 Uruguay 2013
 New Zealand* 2013
 United Kingdom* 2014 2020
 Luxembourg 2015
 Ireland 2015
 Colombia 2016
 Finland 2017
 Malta 2017
 Germany 2017
 Australia 2017
 Austria 2019
 Taiwan 2019
 Ecuador 2019
 Costa Rica 2020
 Chile 2022
 Switzerland 2022
 Slovenia 2022
 Cuba 2022
 Andorra 2023 (pending)

* State controls one or more territories where same-sex marriage is not legal.

Ancient times

Main article: History of same-sex unions

Various types of same-sex marriages have existed,[1] ranging from informal, unsanctioned relationships to highly ritualized unions.[2]

Cicero mentions the marriage (using the Latin verb for "to marry", i.e. nubere) of the son of Curio the Elder, but he does it in a metaphorical form to criticize his enemy Antonius. Cicero states thus that the younger Curio was "united in a stable and permanent marriage" to Antonius.[3] Martial also mentions a number of same-sex marriages, but always in derisory terms against people whom he wants to mock.[4]

Practices and rituals for same sex unions were more recognized in Mesopotamia than in ancient Egypt.[5] In ancient Assyria, there was considered to be nothing wrong with homosexual love between men.[6][7][8] The Almanac of Incantations contained prayers giving equal standing to the love of a man for both a woman and a man.[9]

At least two of the Roman Emperors were in same-sex unions; and in fact, thirteen out of the first fourteen Roman Emperors held to be bisexual or exclusively homosexual.[10] The first Roman emperor to have married a man was Nero, who is reported to have married two other men on different occasions. First with one of his freedmen, Pythagoras, to whom Nero took the role of the bride, and later as a groom Nero married a young boy, who resembled one of his concubines,[11] named Sporus.

Adolescent emperor Elagabalus referred to his chariot driver, a blond slave from Caria named Hierocles, as his husband.[12] He also married an athlete named Zoticus in a lavish public ceremony in Rome amidst the rejoicings of the citizens.[13]

These same-sex marriages continued until Christianity became the official religion of the Roman Empire. A law in the Theodosian Code (C. Th. 9.7.3) was issued in 342 AD by the Christian emperors Constantius II and Constans. This law prohibited same-sex marriage in ancient Rome and ordered that those who were so married were to be executed.[14][15]

The Siwa Oasis in Egypt had a historical acceptance of male homosexuality and even rituals of same-sex marriage—traditions that Egyptian authorities have sought to repress, with increasing success, since the early 20th century.[16] The German egyptologist George Steindorff explored the oasis in 1900 and reported that homosexual relations were common and often extended to a form of marriage.[17]

Before 20th century

1900s

Marcela and Elisa after their wedding, photo by José Sellier.
Marcela and Elisa after their wedding, photo by José Sellier.

1901

1929

1960s

1963

1970s

1970

Jack Baker and Michael McConnell (r), 1970

1971

1973

1974

1975

1979

1980s

1984

1985

1989

1990s

1993

1994

1995

1996

1997

1998

1999

  1. creates a relationship register for both gay and straight couples (called "Pacte civil de solidarité" abbreviated as "PaCS"); and
  2. redefines the non-registered partnership as the stable union between two adults regardless of their gender (before this law, previous decisions of the French highest Court ruled that there could be no couple without appearance of marriage, therefore excluding gay people from any vision of family).

2000s

2000

2001

Two men marrying in Amsterdam, after Queen Beatrix signed the law to make Netherlands the first country in the world to legalize same-sex marriage (2001).[71]
Two men marrying in Amsterdam, after Queen Beatrix signed the law to make Netherlands the first country in the world to legalize same-sex marriage (2001).[71]

2002

2003

2004

2005

2006

2007

2008

First same-sex wedding in San Francisco, California.
First same-sex wedding in San Francisco, California.

2009

2010s

2010

President of Argentina, Cristina Fernández, signs the bill legalizing same-sex marriage.
President of Argentina, Cristina Fernández, signs the bill legalizing same-sex marriage.

2011

2012

2013

Minnesota State House, 2013
The National Assembly of France gives final approval to the same-sex marriage bill by a 331–225 vote.
The National Assembly of France gives final approval to the same-sex marriage bill by a 331–225 vote.

2014

2015

2016

2017

2018

2019

Alexandra Chávez and Michelle Avilés, first same-sex couple to get married in Ecuador
Alexandra Chávez and Michelle Avilés, first same-sex couple to get married in Ecuador

2020s

2020

2021

President Sebastian Piñera of Chile signs the same-sex marriage bill into law.
President Sebastian Piñera of Chile signs the same-sex marriage bill into law.

2022

See also

References

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