Marriage Equality: State By State.

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Map of States' Status on Marriage Equality

Marriage Equality Map - where states stand

Gay Marriage...The Breakdown:

The United States:

In the United States gays and lesbians can legally marry in :

  • California: With the passage of Prop 8, gay and lesbian couples who were married between June and November 2008 are still legally married.
  • Connecticut
  • Iowa
  • Maine (beginning mid-September 2009)
  • Massachusetts
  • New Hampshire: *Governor John Lynch has said he will sign legislation to legalize same-sex marriage there, as long as steps are taken to protect religious institutions.
  • New York: *recognizes marriages by same-sex couples legally performed elsewhere.
  • Vermont (beginning September 1, 2009)
  • Washington DC: *recognizes marriages by same-sex couples legally performed elsewhere.


  • Canada: Gay marriage is legal every where in Canada. No residency requirement. Gay marriages performed in Canada may not be recognized by other countries.
  • Sweden: became the seventh country to legalize same-sex marriage on April 1, 2009. Couples who are currently in civil partnership can chose to keep that status or have it amended to marriage.
  • Norway: became the sixth country to legalize same-sex marriage on May 11, 2008.
  • Netherlands (Holland): Full marriage and registered partnership rights for same sex or opposite sex couples.
  • Belgium: In 2003 became the second country in the world to allow gay and lesbian couples to marry. Since 2006, gay and lesbian couples have been allowed to adopt children.
  • Spain: Spain voted in June 2005 to extend full marriage rights to gay and lesbian citizens.
  • South Africa: legalized gay marriage on November 30th, 2006.

What about Civil Unions you say? well here you go...

The United States:

  • Connecticut: As of October 1, 2005, gays and lesbians are able to enter into Civil Unions in Connecticut. Civil Unions will give gay and lesbian couples many of the same rights and responsibilities of marriage. Civil Unions are only available to same-sex couples.
  • Vermont: Here you can get a Civil Union. In 2000, the Vermont legislature passed and Governor Howard Dean signed a law creating civil unions for same-sex couples, giving these couples all the rights and benefits of marriage under Vermont law but not marriage licenses.
  • New Jersey: On December 14, 2006 the New jersey legislature approved a bill allowing same-sex civil unions.
  • California: Gay and lesbian couples can register as domestic partners in California. Couples who register are eligible for many of the same state rights as heterosexual married couples, but only in the state of California. The rights of civil unions do not transfer from state to state like marriage does.
  • Hawaii: Offers reciprocal beneficiary rights to same-sex couples. Some of the rights granted are: inheritance without a will, ability to sue for the wrongful death, hospital visitation and health care decisions.
  • Maine: Maine instituted a domestic partner registry in 2004. Maine's law mostly benefits couples if one dies: inheritance without a will, the right to make funeral arrangements and the ability to be named guardian if partner becomes incapacitated.
  • Washington State: Offers some of the rights of marriage via domestic partnerships. The law takes effect July 22, 2007.
  • New Hampshire: Offers civil unions to gays and lesbians beginning January 2008.
  • Oregon: Offers a comprehensive domestic partnership law that offers all the state benefits of marriage.
  • (*update*) Illinois entry removed per reader update.


  • Czech Republic Offers civil unions with similar rights to marriage. Adoption status unclear to us at this time. help fill us in.

  • Finland: Offers civil unions in which same-sex couples have similar rights to marriage, such as joint custody of children and immigration rights.
  • France: Has a Civil Solidarity Pact which grants same or opposite sex partners rights of next of kin, inheritance, social security, and tax benefits.
  • Iceland: Has allowed civil unions since 1996. Same-sex couples have the same rights as heterosexuals in adoption, parenting and assisted insemination treatment.
  • Norway: Allows registered partnerships and grants the virtually all the protections, responsibilities and benefits as marriage.
  • Portugal: Grants partnership rights to same and opposite sex couples. Partnership rights include next of kin, inheritance, property, social security and tax benefits.
  • Denmark: Has registered partnerships for same sex couples. They are granted all the same rights as marriage.
  • Sweden: Civil unions have been allowed since 1995. Registered gay and lesbian couples receive many of the same rights as married heterosexual couples and are allowed to adopt children.
  • Germany: Recognizes next of kin and property inheritance rights for same sex couples who register as partners.
  • United Kingdom: Since December 2005 gays and lesbians in the United Kingdom have been eligible to register for Civil Partnerships. Gay and lesbian couples who register will receive some of the same rights as married couples, including accident compensation, life insurance, immigration, inheritance, spouse and child support and workplace benefits.
  • Switzerland: Offers registered partnership with some of the benefits of marriage, but NOT adoption rights or the right to fertility treatments.
  • Israel: In December 2004, Israel announced it will give limited rights to same-sex couples. The attorney general has directed government offices to now recognize same-sex couples for monetary and property issues. The decision reverses a legal opinion that gay and lesbian couples cannot be sanctioned under Israeli law.
  • New Zealand: As of December 2004, gay and lesbian couples will be able to register their unions in New Zealand and receive many of the same rights as heterosexual married couples. The law allows couples to have a ceremony and the right to claim next-of-kin status when a partner dies and have control over a partner's medical treatment.