Countries That Allow Same-Sex Domestic Partnerships or Civil Unions
Argentina Domestic partnerships allowed in the province of Rio Negro, and cities of Buenos Aires Villa Carlos Paz and Rio Cuarto.
Austria Registered partnerships have been legal in Austria since January 1, 2010.
Brazil Civil Unions are legal since May 5, 2011.
Croatia Civil partnerships for same-sex couples have been granted since 2003.
Czech Republic The registered partnership law for same-sex couples was passed in March 2006 and went into effect on July 1, 2006.
Denmark Legal civil partnerships have been allowed since 1989.
Ecuador The 2008 Constitution of Ecuador enacted civil unions between two people without regard to gender, giving same-sex couples the same rights as legally married heterosexual couples except for the right to adopt.
Finland Has offered registered partnership benefits since September 2001.
France Pacte Civil de Solidarité" (PACS), or "Civil Solidarity Pacts," were instituted in France on November 9, 1999.
Germany As of October 22, 2009, the Federal Constitutional Court of Germany has ruled that all the rights and obligations of marriage be extended to same-sex registered partners
Hungary Gay couples have been protected under common-law marriages since 1995; however they are not eligible for legal marriage and same-sex marriage is prohibited by the 2011 Consitution of Hungary.
Iceland Since 1996, gay Icelanders have been protected under registered partnerships.
Ireland Civil partnerships, granted under the Civil Partnership and Certain Rights and Obligations of Cohabitants Act 2010, give same-sex couples rights and responsibilities similar, but not equal to, civil marriage. The act came into effect Jan 2011.
Liechtenstein Liechtenstein recognizes registered partnerships since September 1, 2011.
Luxembourg Civil partnership legislation modeled after France's PACS were introduced in Luxembourg in 2004.
Mexico Same sex civil unions were legalized in Mexico City in November 2006 and in the state of Coahuila on January of 2007, essentially making civil unions legal in all of Mexico (by law, each Mexican state must recognize the laws granted to individuals of the other states).
New Zealand In December, 2004, New Zealand enacted legislation recognizing same-sex civil unions.
Norway Since 1996, gay Norwegians have been protected under registered partnerships.
Portugal Same-sex partners have the same rights as opposite-sex partners in common law marriage.
Slovenia On June 16, 2011, a new Family Code was passed which gave registered same-sex partners all the rights of married couples, except with regards to joint adoption. As of December 2011, it is likely that this Family Code will be challenged at a national referendum.
Sweden Swedish same-sex couples have been able to register under domestic partnership laws since 1995.
Switzerland Same-sex couples are given limited legal benefits with civil recognition.
United Kingdom Domestic partners can register under the Civil Partnership Act. This legislation took affect in December 5, 2005 giving registered same-sex couples all of the rights, privileges and responsibilities of married heterosexual couples. The Civil Partnership Act applies across all of England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland.
US States That Recognize Gay Marriage
New York - Same-sex marriage became legal on July 24, 2011 under the Marriage Equality Act. The Marriage Equality Act does not have a residency restriction like some other states. and allows religious organizations to decline from officiating same sex wedding ceremonies.
Massachusetts - On May 17, 2004 Massachusetts became the first U.S. state to legalize same-sex marriage. The State of Massachusetts also issues licenses to gay couples from New Mexico and Rhode Island since neither state explicitly prohibits same-sex marriage.
Connecticut - began performing marriages of same-sex couples on Nov 12, 2008.
Iowa - Same-sex marriage in Iowa became legal on April 27, 2009.
Maine - legalized same-sex marriage on May 6, 2009. The law will take effect on Sept 11, 2009, pending a possible people's veto.
Vermont - will allow same-sex marriage starting Sept 1, 2009. After this date no further civil unions will be created. Civil unions created prior to this date will retain their status, but these couples will have the option of entering a marriage.
New Hampshire - Same-sex marriage became legal on Jan 1, 2010. Civil Unions will no longer be performed and will become marriages by Jan 1, 2011 unless otherwise dissolved, annulled or previously converted to marriage.
District of Columbia - Same-sex marriage in the District of Columbia was legalized on December 18, 2009. Marriage licenses became available on March 3, 2010, and marriages began on March 9, 2010.
US States That Allow Same-Sex Domestic Partnerships or Civil Unions
New Jersey - On December 2006, the New Jersey Legislature passed a bill providing for civil unions and recognizing other states' civil unions.
Washington - On April 21, 2007, Washington's domestic partnership bill was signed into law giving gay and lesbian couples many of the benefits of marriage.
Oregon - As of May 2007, Under Oregon's domestic partnership law (avoiding the use of terms marriage or civil union) gay and lesbian couples are eligible for all the state-wide rights and benefits of marriage. Oregon also outlaws discrimination based on sexual orientation.
Colorado - Recognition of same-sex unions in Colorado occurs within the framework of designated beneficiary agreements, effective since July 1, 2009. These agreements grant limited rights, such as funeral arrangements and death benefits for same-sex partners.
Nevada - The Domestic Partnership Responsibilities Act May 31, 2009 provides the exact rights, responsibilities, obligations, entitlements and benefits of marriage - without calling it a marriage - instead it is called a Domestic Partnership.
Wisconsin - Civil unions are recognized in Wisconsin as of August 3, 2009 despite same-sex marriage and civil unions being banned by constitutional amendment and Wisconsin Statutes in 2006.
US States With Some Provisions
Hawaii - Since 1997, the U.S. state of Hawaii has offered reciprocal beneficiary registration for any adults who are prohibited by state law from marrying, including both same-sex and different-sex couples.
California - A Domestic Partnership is a legal relationship available to same-sex couples, and to certain opposite-sex couples in which at least one party is at least 62 years of age. It affords the couple most of "the same rights, protections, and benefits, and shall be subject to the same responsibilities, obligations, and duties under law..." as married spouses. It was enacted in 1999.
New York - By a May 29, 2008 directive, New York only recognizes gay marriages from couples legally married outside of the state.
District of Columbia - Same-sex marriage is currently not performed in the District of Columbia; however, the District does recognize same-sex marriages performed elsewhere as being valid in the city. The Council of the District of Columbia is expected to pass separate legislation in 2009 that would allow same-sex marriages to be performed in the District.
Note: Regardless of where same-sex couples live in the U.S. they do not receive any of the 1000+ federal marriage rights and benefits. To learn more about state laws visit Human Rights Campaign.
Countries That Ban Same-Sex Unions
Honduras On March 29, 2005, the constitution of Honduras was amended banning same-sex marriage and adoption by same-sex couples.
Latvia December 21, 2005 marked the day Latvian president Vaira Vike-Freiberga signed into law a constitutional amendment defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman.
Uganda On September 29, 2005, legislation banning same-sex unions was signed by Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni. Penalties for gay marriage will be set in 2006. Under current law, homosexual acts are punishable by imprisonment from five years to life.
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