I was curious how many people actually live in countries with same-sex marriage/equal marriage, and when I couldn’t find a simple consolidated chart online, I decided to make one. Voila!
|Populations of Countries with Same-Sex Marriage|
|Denmark (Denmark proper only)||5,623,501|
|France (including overseas Departments and Territories)||66,417,590|
|Netherlands (Netherlands proper only)||16,810,900|
|New Zealand (New Zealand proper only)||4,502,060|
|States that Recognize Same-Sex Marriages Performed Elsewhere|
|Subnational Jurisdictions with Same-Sex Marriage|
|District of Columbia||632,323|
|Countries Most Likely to Legalize Same-Sex Marriage in 2014-15|
|Rest of United States||190,368,954|
We’re closing in on 1 billion people living in equal-marriage jurisdictions!
Now some notes about the chart:
– The Realm of New Zealand includes several small quasi-independent territories in the Pacific (Cook Islands, Nieu, and Tokelau). None of these territories offer or recognize same-sex marriage.
– Aruba, Curacao, and Sint Maarten are countries in the Kingdom of the Netherlands. They have their own marriage laws, but the Dutch Supreme Court has ruled that couples married in one part of the Kingdom must be recognized in all parts. Thus, they recognize any other legal Dutch marriages, including those performed in the Caribbean Netherlands, which had equal marriage imposed on them by the Dutch Parliament in 2012.
– Mexicans can only get married in Mexico City and Quintana Roo states, but the Mexican Supreme Court has ruled that all Mexican states and the federal government must recognize marriages performed there. Individual court challenges have also led to same-sex marriages in a number of other states, but Mexican law does not tend to let single cases create precedents the way that Commonwealth tradition does.
– Israel recognizes same-sex marriages performed in other countries, but does not permit them in Israel. A recent government proposal to change the law to allow for same-sex marriage failed.
– The UK is a collection of countries and dependecies that have unique (confusing) legal structures. England and Wales are one unit when it comes to civil law (although MPs from the entire country can vote on their law as they have no Parliament of their own. Crazy, right?). The UK Parliament voted in favour of same-sex marriage for England and Wales — the only part of the UK that the Parliament has jurisdiction over — this summer, but the law only takes effect in 2014. Scotland has been consulting on gay marriage for years and the government is in favour. It is widely expected to pass in 2014. Northern Ireland and the Crown Dependencies and territories (Isle of Mann, Jersey, Guernsey, various Caribbean territories) have not signalled an intention to pass same-sex marriage laws (Northern Ireland’s government recently voted strongly against a proposal). I do not know how UK marriages will be treated in these territories (ie, what happens to a Scottish couple who relocate to Belfast?). Anyone who can explain this to me, please do.
– The US federal government recognizes marriages performed in any US state and overseas, but 31 individual states and its dependent territories do not currently (Oregon does not permit same-sex marriages, but recognizes them when performed elsewhere). The recent court victory in Utah seems to point to a much faster spread of same-sex marriage rights in the US than many predicted. It paves a path for the Supreme Court to issue a final nationwide ruling on the matter in the next couple of years. In the meantime, there are court cases and ballot initiatives seeking to legalize same-sex marriage in about a dozen states.
– The situation in Colombia is complicated. The Supreme Court gave the government two years from June 2011 to grant equal rights to same-sex couples, but the government failed to act (and a bill to allow same-sex marriage failed). Starting in June 2013, same-sex couples began to get married, but government and private groups challenged them with court cases. Various rulings have had these unions called civil unions or marriages, with the most recent ruling for marriage. We can probably expect a clearer ruling from the Supreme Court in the next year or so.
– The Faroe Islands is a quasi-independent country in Denmark with its own marriage code. The government has signalled its intent to allow gay marriage.
– Finland’s government is not currently in favour of equal marriage, although public opinion is. The government was presented with a huge petition this year, which under Finnish law forces the government to debate the issue.
– Luxembourg is probably the most likely to pass same-sex marriage in 2014. Its previous government had already signalled an intention to, and recent elections created a government headed by an openly gay (and hot) Prime Minister and Deputy PM, who have reconfirmed the government’s commitment.
– Chile recently re-elected Socialist former president Michele Bachelet, who campaigned on legalizing same-sex marriage. Her party also won a majority in the legislature, but reports indicate she still has to work to convince the party to pass a law.
– Costa Rica recently (accidentally) passed an anti-discrimination law that some legislators fear could lead to same-sex marriages. The president refused to veto the law over these concerns. Nevertheless, there doesn’t appear to be momentum (yet) to press the issue.
– Ireland’s government has signalled that it will hold a referendum on the issue in 2015, as legalizing it requires a constitutional amendment. Public opinion is around 75% in favour.
– Vietnam recently decriminalized same-sex marriage without legalizing it. There have been discussions to move in that direction.
– Nepal’s Supreme Court ordered the government to legalize same-sex marriage in 2008, but the country has been largely without a stable government since. Fun fact, when I worked at Xtra in 2007, the office got a package from a gay organization in Nepal that included the country’s own gay magazine. Although I couldn’t read it, the best part of the magazine was that they’d used a picture of Nina Arsenault as an illustration of a story on trans issues. She’s global!
– Taiwan has been talking about same-sex marriage on and off since 2003.
– Australia is not on this list, as the Supreme Court recently ruled against same-sex marriage, leaving it up to the federal Parliament to decide. As the ruling conservatives have a large majority and are opposed, it’s unlikely to be passed until after the next election, four years hence. There are, however, some conservatives in favour of equal marriage who are pushing for a conscience vote on the issue, but the prospects (from several thousand miles away) look dim.
– The EU doesn’t impose marriage laws on its member countries (yet), although you have to expect that a challenge to the European Court of Justice is bound to come from a couple who’ve moved to an unequal-marriage country (the larger European Court of Human Rights has apparently already decided against same-sex marriage). Various bans seem to impede freedom of movement, which is a a key plank of the EU. Currently, about 47% of EU citizens live in equal marriage jurisdictions, and that will reach just more than half if/when Luxembourg, Finland, Scotland, and Ireland pass it (the Faroe Islands are not part of the EU).
– I haven’t included civil unions on the list to keep the concept simple. Jurisdictions with civil unions include Andorra, Austria, Colombia (sorta, see above), Czech Republic, Ecuador, Finland, Germany, Greenland, Hungary, Ireland, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Slovenia, Switzerland, UK, and parts of Australia, Mexico, Venezuela, and the US.
Please leave comments, corrections or questions below.