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International Marriage Equality Map


A map of laws establishing marriage equality for gay couples around the world.

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  1. How quickly things change; this map is already out of date. Just last week, New Zealand's marriage equality bill passed its second reading, all but ensuring its passage into law. Looking forward to seeing a little more beige in the bottom right hand side of the map!

    Posted by: Terry | Mar 19, 2013 9:46:47 AM

  2. Interesting. But I've already found an error. They put Denmark in the "Same-sex marriage not legally recognized" category but same-sex marriage became legal in Denmark on 15 June 2012.

    Posted by: Peter M. | Mar 19, 2013 9:48:56 AM

  3. I'm not sure I'd include California among places with limited recognition. About 16,000 couples managed to get married, but those marriages aren't worth much. And for a state with nearly 40 million people, that's pretty limited.

    Posted by: Paul R | Mar 19, 2013 9:57:06 AM

  4. I don't think they should put any US state in the full marriage equality category, because couples there do not have federal rights (pending action on DOMA Section 3 by SCOTUS, of course).

    I guess I'm a glass half empty guy today. I've seen a version of this that also shows the opposite: places where homosexuality is criminalized or otherwise regulated to some degree. When you see that, it becomes clearer that we've made some progress but at the same time so have those opposed to us.

    Posted by: Thomas | Mar 19, 2013 10:10:29 AM

  5. The map is a useful observation of the function of marriage laws and the error of using that as the standard of success. Most of the US is the same color as Uganda or Saudi Arabia and yet clearly gay people are better off here. In your day to day existence do you have more rights and security in South Florida or South Africa?

    Posted by: David Hearne | Mar 19, 2013 10:28:02 AM

  6. As African countries go, you can do a lot worse than South Africa. At least it has equal rights written into its constitution, no matter how loosely enforced.

    Posted by: Paul R | Mar 19, 2013 10:36:43 AM

  7. @DAVID--Agreed. This is the map I was thinking of:

    It's the map we have posted for the last few years at my school's LGBT center, and it's a pretty good counter argument to those who think that enough battles have been won to make victory in the broader war inevitable. Far from it.

    Posted by: Thomas | Mar 19, 2013 10:47:30 AM

  8. Denmark has full equality and is not shown as such. Also, New Zealand's government has announced its intention to legally recognize marriage.

    Posted by: DB | Mar 19, 2013 11:12:23 AM

  9. David Hearne - Agree with your comment, but what's also missing from your analysis is that countries like the US should be held to a higher standard than Uganda or Saudi Arabia. Is it probably over-all better to live in the US than in Africa? Yes. Is it totally ridiculous that a first-world country like the US doesn't have a federal marriage equality bill? Also yes.

    Posted by: Jeremy | Mar 19, 2013 11:46:09 AM

  10. East Asia is like limbo for gay people: they don't persecute us, but they don't treat us equally either.

    Posted by: Ezam | Mar 19, 2013 11:52:01 AM

  11. The map is incorrect...Denmark was one of the first countries in the world to recognize and legalize partnership between gays & lesbians...wayyyy back in 1989. In 2012 the law was expanded and marriage was included.

    Posted by: Ulrik | Mar 19, 2013 11:56:41 AM

  12. you might not want to compare your country to a third-world one in order to make it seem "good."

    that's like comparing your C-average report card with the kids in special ed. just saying.

    Posted by: Little Kiwi | Mar 19, 2013 11:57:05 AM

  13. So what the map demonstrates is that marriage equality is happening in places where white people live.....and not happening in places where white people don't live.

    That about sums it up--and there is no real reason to think that will change any time soon, if ever.

    And before the predictable cries of "racism" come raining down, I would make the observation that the whole concept of "romantic love" that has come to be associated with marriage in the West is almost entirely a Western concept.

    Marriage outside the West is based on practical considerations, not the notion that the person one marries should be one's "soulmate"....and it is only in the West where the bizarre notion of a woman being a man's soulmate has arisen.

    Same-sex marriage, is, of course, just an attempt to mimic the "romantic love"/"soulmate" ideal with someone of the same gender replacing someone of the opposite gender.....but it is really just as bizarre an idea, since men are not really programmed for a lifetime of monogamy.

    I support same-sex marriage because the opponents of it are motivated for the most part by raw homophobia, but the underpinnings of the idea are strictly Western, unnatural, and really strange

    Posted by: Rick | Mar 19, 2013 12:10:03 PM

  14. Also, I'm so racist that the only color of dildo I can use to not feel like I'm being penetrated by some brown person is bleach-white. And as there are few, if any, bleach-white dildos, I instead use a fistful of tampons. Usually Playtex, because they make me feel like a natural woman.

    Posted by: Rick | Mar 19, 2013 12:17:06 PM

  15. I have to wonder why people keep on posting out-of-date copies of this map and others like it, instead of posting the continually-updated original version at Wikipedia:

    Posted by: aj | Mar 19, 2013 12:51:32 PM

  16. @RICK--The South is full of White people, but Southern states and cities are not supportive of gay rights, generally. And Latin America is dominated by non-White people.

    The more accurate statement would have been that where religious orthodoxy dominates the political sphere one does not find gay rights winning political support. That explanation actually has a logical, rational mechanism underlying it--fundamentalist religions think homosexuality is sinful, that it will curse people, that it can be spread, etc. By contrast, your race-based explanation has no rational mechanism behind it. Control for the religious explanation, and maybe throw in poverty too, and I bet race has no explanatory purchase.

    Lastly, and I can't believe I have to explain this to a gay man: there is nothing definitively "natural" about marriage or sexual behavior. Since marriage is a social construct, it cannot be objectively labeled as having some forms that are more bizarre than others. All we can ask is whether it is consistent with the broader values of the culture and the existing legal system in which it arises. In the US in 2013, that is not the case. To claim US "marriage" is definitively about inheritance or children or some other social goal is "bizarre" given the policies we have constructed around marriage. And to say that men are not wired for monogamy is as ridiculous as saying that men are only wired for vaginal intercourse. I was wired for gay monogamy, my brother was wired for straight polygamy, maybe you were wired for gay polygamy, etc. Forcing your subjective experience as an objective reality is a big part of the reason we still have gays being regularly persecuted for their personal, private choices.

    Posted by: Thomas | Mar 19, 2013 12:52:57 PM

  17. Agreed, Thomas. I was going to post something about how "Same-sex marriage, is, of course, just an attempt to mimic the 'romantic love'/'soulmate' ideal with someone of the same gender replacing someone of the opposite gender...." is just about the stupidest statement I've read in a very long time, but what you said is even better.

    Posted by: jtaskw | Mar 19, 2013 1:37:49 PM

  18. If you take stuff off Wikipedia, even if it's second-rate like this, attribute it. Its license demands it - Wikipedia stuff is not automatically in the public domain Andy.

    Posted by: Christoph | Mar 19, 2013 1:49:49 PM

  19. I imagine the blue dot out in Oregon is for one of the tribes that have enacted marriage equality, in which case it seems there should be a blue dot for the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians, which approved same-sex marriage last week.

    Also, as has been mentioned the map seems to leave out Denmark and is not up-to-date for New Zealand.

    Posted by: Phineas Finch | Mar 19, 2013 2:02:04 PM

  20. Rick doesn't seem to understand the racial makeup of South America, especially Brazil, nor Washington DC. Must be tough looking at a map with your (bleached white) head so far up your A$$.

    Posted by: zack | Mar 19, 2013 5:11:56 PM

  21. @RICK - South Africa (with full marriage equality) has about as many black people as does the entire USA. And only as many white people as live in Indiana alone (which has zero marriage equality).

    Australia (with zero marriage equality) is almost 100% white. Same with Russia, Finland, Italy, Greece, the Balkans, Poland, Romania and Bulgaria. And in the USA, the whitest states include Kentucky, North Dakota and West Virginia.

    So stfu with your idiotic racial analysis.

    Posted by: elegir | Mar 19, 2013 5:34:34 PM

  22. Kiwi -

    South Africa wasn't a Third World country when that designation was being handed out. Give it time, though, it's headed there as we speak.

    Posted by: David Hearne | Mar 19, 2013 7:13:27 PM

  23. Zack - It would appear that you are the one who doesn't understand racial dynamics. Brazil is 54% white and 38% mulatto in a place where race lines are not as clearly drawn as they are in the US AT THE MOMENT. Race is more than skin color and always has been. Thus, even if the caucasian population of the US becomes darker through mixture with largely Latin American and Oriental people, economics and culture will place them squarely in the same place as the caucasian spectrum is now.

    Take the Cubans of Florida for example. DEspite some here declaring that such people are not Latinos, they identify as white (as opposed to Negro and you will rarely hear them refer to black people as Cubans rather than simply "blacks") amongst themselves but identify non-hispanic caucasians as "white boys".

    Rehardless of how we would identify them, there are people who identify as white. For ease of access, go to the Florida Department of corrections and do a search for "white male currently incarcerated" and you will see a number of people who identify as white who most people would id as other. By the same token, in California, Mexicans in prison are counted as caucasians (which is the traditional classification for them as "spanish surnamed" ) but when they are victims of crimes they are counted as nonwhite. Politics.

    Posted by: David Hearne | Mar 19, 2013 7:25:31 PM

  24. Ireland has civil unions.

    Posted by: Reality | Mar 19, 2013 8:42:28 PM

  25. How about "Gay Marriage Map" as opposed to "Marriage Equality Map" And who cares how many places you can get married in. How many times and places will one marry? You make the mistake once. Let's have a "Gay Hate Crime" map to put things in perspective. It's not all rainbows and sunshine even in the "Equal" locations.

    Posted by: Garth | Mar 19, 2013 9:01:59 PM

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