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Equality For All: First 10 Countries To Celebrate Gay Marriage

The journey towards equality is a never-ending battle but with people’s more civilized views, the Earth is becoming a more accepting place. Humanity single-handedly ended slavery, oppression of women’s rights, and now we are already catering to our more diverse gender orientations.

Many countries are already pledging their full support to the gay community and the legalization of gay marriage can attest to that. 24 countries are now open to gay couples who want to experience the equality they fought for. Despite many countries starting the movement, the majority are still not in favor of this practice. American and European countries have the highest number of members who exercise this right to the LGBT community. No country in Asia has legalized gay marriage yet!

The Netherlands

Queen Beatrix of Netherlands signed the very first bill that legalizes gay marriage

The Netherlands is the very first country to ever exercise equality of marriage for all personal orientations. On December 21, 2000, Queen Beatrix of The Netherlands signed the bill that enables gay and lesbian couples to wed. The bill includes their rights to adopt children and get divorced. Although some of the religious organizations are still opposing the law, the marriage is widely acceptable by the Dutch public.


Though the Belgian parliament already has limited rights to gay couples, it was only in 2003 where the bill was legalized. The battle for this received lesser chaos between the church and government, unlike other countries. Support for the law came from both the Flemish-speaking North and the French-speaking South. It was also in the same year where Belgium acknowledged and recognized married gay couples from other countries. In 2004, they allowed other nationalities to get wed in their country, provided that one of the couples lived in the country for three months. Like Argentina, they also granted couples the right to adopt children.


A divided Spain legalized the union of the same gender orientation in 2000, making it the second country to pass the law. The law took effect on 3 July, after it was publicized in the official government registry. King Juan Carlos I granted the law Royal Assent the day after passage. The country’s existing marriage statue now states “Marriage will have the same requirements and results when the two people entering into the contract are of the same gender or of different genders.”


Canada started considering the marriage equality way back in 1999 when the federal and provincial governments extended common law marriages to gay and lesbian couples. In 2003, nine out of 13 provinces in Canada already transitioned their law, accepting and acknowledging the marriage. It was only in 2005 where the law became legal nationwide.

South Africa

Gay marriage in South Africa

The third and the only country to legalize gay marriage was South Africa. African are very strict in terms of the relationship with the same gender, and they have always held the belief that being gay is morally wrong. In 2006, a very big step for the continent has been reached after South Africa allowed the union of two people, regardless of orientation. The bill was passed on November 28, and the very first wedding was held on December 1 of the same year.


Norway started practicing the view on equality for almost 3 decades now. The passing of a bill to allow and acknowledge gay marriage replaced the country’s older law that permits only civil unions. The legalizing of the bill was pushed through despite the religion’s significant resistance to it. Now, gay couples in Norway are free to marry, adopt a child, and even undergo artificial insemination.


The country already allows gay couples to apply for civil unions since 1995. It was only in April 2009 when the majority of the Swedish parliament legalized gay marriage. Unlike in Norway, the Swedish Lutheran-affiliated Church already gives a blessing to those couples who want to get married in the church.


Ireland’s Prime Minister Johanna Sigurdardottir and her partner Jónína Leósdóttir are the country’s very first gay-married couple

The country’s first step to allowing gay marriage goes back to 1996. Like Sweden, Iceland also receives the civil union of gay couples. A decade later, they passed a bill to allow couples to adopt a child. And on June 2010, the country opened its arms to fully legalizing gay marriage. The very first couple to marry under the new statute is its own Prime Minister, Johanna Sigurdardottir and her partner Jonina Leosdottir.


On May 2010, Portugal became the sixth country in Europe to introduce its revised marriage statute to the world. The law was published in the official journal Diário da Republica on 31 May 2010 and became effective on 5 June 2010. The country still does not allow a gay couple to adopt children, but LGBT community is hoping that the state will consider it anytime soon.


People rallying for Argentina’s legalization of gay marriage

Argentina is the very first Latin American country to grant marriage to gay couples in 2010. The Catholic and evangelical Protestants churches vigorously opposed the legalization of gay marriage. The measure passed both houses of the Argentine legislature and was signed into law by President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner. The law legalizes all the rights and responsibilities of straight couples, including the right to adopt a child.

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