South Africa for a start. But there is also legal recognition of same-sex marriage in 9 other countries – Argentina, Belgium, Canada, Iceland, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain and Sweden.
New York state recently joined the list of places around the world that legalise same-sex marriage, this year in July. In the USA same-sex couples may marry in six states and one district, although same-sex marriages are not recognised federally.
In Mexico gay couples can marry only in Mexico City.
Israel recognises same-sex marriages performed elsewhere, but not in its territory, whilst in Brazil a same-sex couple may convert their civil union into marriage only with the approval of a state judge.
Denmark – in 1989 Denmark was the first country to give registered same sex partners the same rights as married couples, although church weddings were not allowed. Same-sex marriage legalisation is on the cards for 2012.
Norway, Sweden and Iceland all passed similar legislation in 1996, followed by Finland six years later. Same-sex marriage became legal in Norway and Sweden in 2009.
The Netherlands – by legalising gay marriage, the Netherlands was the first country to offer full civil marriage rights to gay couples in 2001.
Belgium allowed gay marriage in 2003.
Spain legalised full marriage for gay couples in 2005.
Germany allows same-sex couples to register as ‘life partners’ and has done so since 2001, but this allows only the same inheritance and tenants’ rights as heterosexual couples.
France introduced a civil contract known as Pacs, in 1999, which allows certain rights to cohabiting couples, regardless of sex, but they are not marriage rights.
Argentina allowed for gay civil unions in 2003, giving gay couples similar legal rights to those for heterosexual couples, excluding adoption and inheritance rights. They legalised gay marriage in 2010.
Luxembourg adopted a similar model to the French in 2004.
New Zealand passed legislation in 2004 to recognise civil unions between gay couples.
Britain passed legislation in 2005 that gives same-sex couples in registered partnerships similar rights to married couples with regards to pensions, property, social security and housing.
Canada passed a bill to legalise same-sex marriage in 2005.
South Africa included same-sex unions in the marriage laws in 2006. It was the fifth country, and the first in Africa, to legalise same-sex marriage.
Iceland legalised same-sex marriage in 2010.
Portugal legalised same-sex marriage in 2010.
Happy Wedding Planning!