Same-Sex Marriage Laws Around the World

By Kaytie at Legal Language
Updated on 10/17/2014
In International Law, Legal Translation, Travel



same-sex marriageWith DOMA (the Defense of Marriage Act) being declared unconstitutional by the US Supreme Court, the tide is turning in favor of gay marriage in the United States.

But this isn’t just an issue in the US — many other countries have recently adopted bills legalizing same-sex marriage.

Find out which countries allow gay marriage — and why it’s a good idea to have certified translations of your personal documents done right away if you want to get married abroad.

Countries That Allow Same-Sex Marriage

On April 23, 2013, France’s National Assembly passed legislation to allow same-sex marriage and adoption in the country. It became the 14th nation to grant the right to same-sex couples. A full list includes:

  • Argentina
  • Belgium
  • Canada
  • Denmark
  • France
  • Iceland
  • The Netherlands
  • New Zealand
  • Norway
  • Portugal
  • South Africa
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Uruguay

Countries That Allow Same-Sex Marriage in Some Jurisdictions

In the US, same-sex marriage is allowed in the District of Columbia and 31 states. The US joins Australia, Brazil and Mexico as a small list of countries that only permit gay marriage in some jurisdictions.

Generally, marriages which are legally performed and valid abroad are also recognized as being valid in the United States – as long as they do not break US state laws. Therefore, if your state does not allow same-sex marriage, a valid marriage abroad will not be recognized in your state.

The Importance of Certified Document Translation

Certified translations of personal documents are likely to be required if a couple is planning to get married abroad. It’s a good idea to have a translation of important documents like birth certificates, background checks and health records. This will vary according to each country, so be sure to familiarize yourself with your destination’s specific requirements.

After you have returned from your destination wedding, you will also need to obtain a translation of your marriage certificate.

If you or someone you know is planning a destination wedding, make sure you know the requirements for marriage in your home country as well as the destination country to make sure your wedding abroad is valid.


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