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Marriage Rights Around the World

Timothy Kincaid

May 15th, 2008

The following countries offer some form of recognition to same-sex couples:


Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Canada, South Africa, United States (Massachusetts, California)

Civil Unions

New Zealand, Brazil (Rio Grande do Sul), Argentina (Buenos Aires, Rio Negro), Mexico (Coahuila), Uruguay, United States (Vermont, New Hampshire, Connecticut, New Jersey)

Registered Partnership or Domestic Partnership

Denmark, Greenland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Portugal, Finland, Luxembourg, , Slovenia, United Kingdom, Czech Republic, Italy (City of Padua), Switzerland, Hungary, Australia (Tasmania), United States (Maine, Washington, Oregon)

Other Methods of Limited Recognition

France (PACS), Germany (Life Partnership), Croatia (Law of Same-Sex Relationships), Andorra (Stable Union of a Couple), Mexico (Mexico City – PACS), Colombia (Common-law marriage inheritance rights), Israel (Limited recognition of foreign legal arrangements), United States (Hawaii – Reciprocal Benefits; New York – recognition of out-of-state legal marriages)

Although recognition is in a rapid state of change, this is my best understanding of the current rights provided. Several nations are in the process of adding or revising recognition.



Ben in Oakland
May 15th, 2008 | LINK

Ibelieve Hungary has recognized gay relationships via their supreme court, but it is not marriage.

May 16th, 2008 | LINK

Denmark is better classified as “civil union” — it is essentially “all but name only” much like New Jersey or Vermont.

May 16th, 2008 | LINK

Just a small correction, the Brazilian state that affords civil unions is Rio Grande do Sul. The name is Portuguese, not Spanish.

May 16th, 2008 | LINK

The US state of Rhode Island and the nation of Israel also recognize “foreign” same-sex marriages.

I can’t remember which, but one of the “domestic partnership” laws in Oregon or Washington creates a status equivalent to civil union (like California’s DP laws did).

Timothy Kincaid
May 16th, 2008 | LINK


Thanks. Correction made.


I’m using the language (more or less) that they use. Just as California’s domestic partnerships offered everthing that New Jersey’s civil unions offered, the language was different.


Thanks. I am not certain about Israel. I believe some aspects of foreign marriage are recognized, and others not. I keep reading conflicting stories. I’ll include them in the other-limited category.

But while Rhode Island’s law does not ban gay marriage, a court just determined that they do not recognize gay marriages performed elsewhere either (it was a divorce case). Thus, a Rhode Island couple could (unlike residents of 47 other states) marry in Massachusetts but only have their marriage recognized there and now California. While a New York couple cannot marry in Massachusetts, but if they were MA residents that married and moved, it would be recognized in New York.

Timothy Kincaid
May 16th, 2008 | LINK

And Oregon is the state which explicitely states that all rights granted to married couples are granted to domestic partners.

Washington is taking a more slow process of doling out specific rights.

Timothy Kincaid
May 16th, 2008 | LINK


Starting January 1, 2009, gay couples in Hungary can register their partnerships. Until then they have some rights under Unregistered Cohabitation (a sort of common law recognition).

Although the law isn’t effective until next year, it has already passed and that’s why Hungary is included in Registered Partnerships.

May 16th, 2008 | LINK

UK form of legal recongition is called “Civil Partnership” and is legally identical to marriage in all respects except:

. the civil partnership ceremony may not have religious elements
. there is a technical definition of a particular term (can’t remember precisely which) that that presumes opposite-sex parties and therefore doesn’t apply as a reason for dissolution of civil partnerships.

Otherwise, I’m given to understand, all burdens and rights are the same.

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