When the Supreme Court ruled Friday that no state can ban same sex-marriage, 13 states with active bans saw their laws overruled. By doing so, the United States also joined a group of now almost two dozen countries with national laws or court rulings allowing gay marriage.

Here’s the complete list of countries, including the year in which each one began to recognize or allow same-sex marriages nationwide. The legal definition of marriage varies from country to country so, some organizations and individuals will identify a slightly different list of countries where gay marriage is not legal or the right of marriage has been recognized.

The following list is based largely on the findings of a June Pew Research Center report.

  • The Netherlands, 2001*
  • Belgium, 2003
  • Canada, 2005
  • Spain, 2005
  • South Africa, 2006
  • Norway, 2009
  • Sweden, 2009
  • Portugal, 2010
  • Argentina, 2010
  • Iceland, 2010
  • Denmark, 2012
  • Brazil, 2013
  • England, 2013**
  • France, 2013
  • New Zealand, 2013
  • Uruguay, 2013
  • Luxembourg, 2014
  • Scotland, 2014
  • Finland, 2015
  • Slovenia, 2015
  • The Republic of Ireland, 2015
  • Mexico, 2015 ***
  • United States, 2015

*Gay marriage was approved by the legislature in The Netherlands in 2000, making it the first country in the world to do so. The law went into effect the following year.

** The United Kingdom is a country comprised of England, Northern Ireland and Scotland. However all three maintain distinct legislative bodies.

***Some legal analysts have questioned whether the Mexican high court’s ruling that defining marriage as a union only between a man and a woman is discriminatory violates Mexico’s constitution. However, the court’s June decision has widely been read as the moment that gay marriage became legal in Mexico.


Soeren Kierkegaard, 1851

If I want to successfully bring a person to a definite goal, I must find where she is, and start right there. He, who cannot do that, fools himself when he thinks that he can help others. To help somebody, I certainly must understand more than she does, but above all understand what she understands. If I cannot do that, it is of no help that I am more able than she is and that I know more than she does.

If I still want to show how much I know, the reason is that I am vain and arrogant, and because I in fact want to be admired by the other rather than help her. All true helpfulness begins with humbleness before the person I want to help, and thereby I must realize that to help is not a desire to rule but a wish to serve. If I cannot do that, I cannot help anybody.”

–  Soeren Kierkegaard, 1851