FACTBOX: Same-sex marriage around the world as Swiss vote in favour

by Hugo Greenhalgh and Rachel Savage | @hugo_greenhalgh | Thomson Reuters Foundation
Monday, 27 September 2021 09:15 GMT

A Swiss flag is pictured in front of the Federal Palace (Bundeshaus) is pictured in Bern, Switzerland, January 16, 2017. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

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Switzerland becomes the 29th country to approve same-sex marriage. Which other nations already allow gay couples to wed?

By Hugo Greenhalgh and Rachel Savage

LONDON, Sept 27 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Switzerland voted overwhelmingly to allow same-sex couples to wed and adopt children in a referendum on Sunday, making it one of the last countries in Western Europe to legalise gay civil marriage.

Last week, the Mexican state of Sonora also approved same-sex marriage, as the push for LGBT+ equality gathers pace around the world.

More than 20 years ago, one lesbian couple and three gay pairs tied the knot in Amsterdam's city hall - making history as the Netherlands became the first country to allow same-sex marriage, a step since followed by nearly 30 other nations.

Here are some key facts about the legal recognition of same-sex couples around the world: - Same-sex marriage is legal in 29 countries: Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Britain, Canada, Colombia, Costa Rica, Denmark, Ecuador, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Luxembourg, Malta, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Uruguay and the United States.

  • An estimated 34 countries recognise some form of civil partnership for same-sex couples.
  • Gay marriage is strongly opposed by many religious groups. Pope Francis said same-sex couples should be protected by civil union laws in a film released in October 2020, but the Vatican ruled in March that priests are not permitted to bless these unions.
  • Almost a third of adults globally think people of the same sex should be allowed to marry, a survey by global LGBT+ advocacy group ILGA and research firm RIWI of almost 100,000 people in 65 countries found in 2016.
  • In July 2020, Montenegro became the first European country outside of Western Europe and the European Union to legalise same-sex civil partnerships.
  • Costa Rica marked a first in Central America by giving the go-ahead to same-sex marriages in May 2020, when a landmark constitutional court ruling came into effect.
  • Northern Ireland became the last part of the United Kingdom to introduce equal marriage rights in February 2020. - Taiwan was the first place in Asia to allow gay marriages in 2019.
  • In Africa, only South Africa allows same-sex marriage. In many countries, same-sex sexual relations is a crime punishable by imprisonment or the death penalty.

Sources: ILGA State-Sponsored Homophobia report, Pew Research Centre, Thomson Reuters Foundation, Reuters

Related stories:

Switzerland votes to make same-sex marriage legal by near two-thirds majority

Mexican state of Sonora approves same-sex marriage

Dutch couples mark 20th anniversary of world's first same-sex marriages

(Reporting by Hugo Greenhalgh @hugo_greenhalgh and Rachel Savage @rachelmsavage; Editing by Helen Popper. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers the lives of people around the world who struggle to live freely or fairly. Visit http://news.trust.org)

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