The countries where same-sex marriage is already legal

In cool news, Russia’s first same-sex couple got married last weekend. It was the first LGBT wedding in a country where same-sex marriage is still illegal. So, how’d the couple do it? Basically, they slipped through the bureaucratic cracks on a technicality.

The brides, Irina Shumilova and Alyona Fursova, were able to get married because Shumilova is a trans woman whose documentation still lists her as male. Officially, it was a marriage between a man and a woman, although Shumilova is undergoing hormone therapy and identifies as female.

Back here in the United States, same-sex marriage made headlines this week when it was temporarily banned in Kansas. The gay marriage question here in the good ol’ U.S. of A. is endlessly complicated. Should it be a federal issue? A state issue? Should it be legal? Illegal? And at what point should the Supreme Court step in? While it’s mega-complex here, there are countries around the world that have embraced equality and said same-sex marriage is a-ok. Plain and simple.

Here are the 16 countries around the world where same-sex marriage is already legal.

1. The Netherlands – April 1, 2001

The Netherlands was the first country (exciting!) to legalize same-sex marriage (a Dutch-Carribean island also approved marriage equality). Take a moment and let it sink in: same-sex marriage became legal in a country for the VERY FIRST TIME only 13 years ago.

2. Belgium – June 1, 2003

In Belgium, same-sex marriage became legal in 2003. Three years later, Parliament legalized co-parenting for same-sex couples. Woot.

3. Spain – July 3, 2005

Although the Catholic Church was opposed, the Spanish Parliament voted in favor of same-sex marriage back in 2005. Olé!

4. Canada – July 20, 2005

There’s a reason why so many American couples go to Canada to get married. Spoiler alert: It’s because same-sex marriage is legal there.

5. South Africa – November 30, 2006

The first African country on the same-sex marriage map!

6. Norway – January 1, 2009

A new year and a new system in Norway. No better way to say Happy New Year then with a little bit of equality.

7. Sweden – May 1, 2009

In 2009, Sweden joined their Norwegian neighbors and got same-sex marriage on the books.

8. Portugal – June 5, 2010

More same-sex marriage love from Europe! Portugal join their Spanish neighbors in saying that love = love.

9. Iceland – June 27, 2010

Big ups to Iceland for passing same-sex marriage with a unanimous vote. Iceland also became the first country in the world to have an openly gay head of state in 2009.

10. Argentina – July 22, 2010

A new continent in the mix, Argentina becomes the first country in South America to legalize same-sex marriage in 2010.

11. Denmark – June 15, 2012

That European sweep continues with the inclusion of Denmark.

12. Brazil – May 14, 2013

South America brings in their second country and kicks off a great 2013.

13. France – May 29, 2013

To France, we say merci beaucoup.

14. Uruguay – August 5, 2013

Uruguay becomes South America’s THIRD country to legalize same-sex marriage.

15. New Zealand – August 19, 2013

Zooming all the way around to the other side of the world, New Zealand legalizes same-sex marriage in 2013.

16. United Kingdom – March 29, 2014 (England and Wales) & December 31, 2014 (Scotland)

Same-sex marriage will be legalized throughout the UK by the end of 2014. It’s already possible in England and Wales, and will be possible in Scotland on December 31.

The tides are changing. With so much different now than it was 13 years ago, we are PUMPED to see where we’ll be 13 years from now and what other countries will be added to the list.

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