Which countries have legalised same-sex marriage? Thailand passes historic marriage equality bill

Same-sex marriage has been legalised in Estonia and Greece this year (Wallace Araujo / Pexels)
Same-sex marriage has been legalised in Estonia and Greece this year (Wallace Araujo / Pexels)

Thailand is on track to become the first south-east Asian country to recognise same-sex marriage after its senate passed a historic marriage equality bill this week.

If the bill receives royal approval as expected, it means that same-sex couples in Thailand could be able to show their love through marriage by the end of this year.

Signalling a major step forward for LGBTQ+ rights in Asia, 130 senate members voted in favour of the bill during its final reading, while just four voted against it, and 18 abstained.

Thailand would then become the third Asian country, alongside Taiwan and Nepal, which allows same-sex marriage in the region.

The news has been met with widespread joy in Thailand and beyond, with crowds celebrating in the streets of Bangkok with rainbow flags following the announcement.

Love Foundation NGO founder Panyaphon Phiphatkhunarnon told CNN it was a “monumental step forward for LGBTQ+ rights in Thailand”.

This year, there have been a number of momentous bills which have unlocked more rights for LGBTQ+ people around the world.

Earlier this year, Estonia became the first Baltic nation to legalise same-sex marriage and Greece became the first Christian Orthodox-majority country to legalise the ceremony.

The news comes more than 10 years after similar rights were created for same-sex couples in the UK in 2014, when the country marked its first same-sex marriage.

Which other countries have also legalised same-sex marriage? Here’s everything we know.

Which countries have legalised same-sex marriage?

Same-sex marriage is allowed in much of Western Europe, North America and South America, as well as Australia and New Zealand.

It is legal in the following countries:

  • Andorra (2023)

  • Argentina (2010)

  • Australia (2017)

  • Austria (2019)

  • Belgium (2003)

  • Brazil (2013)

  • Canada (2005)

  • Chile (2022)

  • Colombia (2016)

  • Costa Rica (2020)

  • Cuba (2022)

  • Denmark (2012)

  • Ecuador (2019)

  • Estonia (2024)

  • Finland (2010)

  • France (2013)

  • Germany (2017)

  • Greece (2024)

  • Iceland (2010)

  • Ireland (2015)

  • Luxembourg (2015)

  • Malta (2017)

  • Mexico (2022)

  • Netherlands (2001)

  • New Zealand (2013)

  • Norway (2009)

  • Portugal (2010)

  • Slovenia (2022)

  • South Africa (2006)

  • Spain (2005)

  • Sweden (2009)

  • Switzerland (2022)

  • Taiwan (2019)

  • Thailand (set to be enacted in late 2024)

  • United Kingdom (2014/2020)

  • United States (2015)

  • Uruguay (2013)

Which countries still don’t allow same-sex marriage?

Same-sex marriage remains illegal throughout much of Eastern Europe, Africa (except for South Africa) and Asia (except for Taiwan).

What percentage of marriages in the UK are same sex?

Same-sex marriage was legalised in England and Wales in March 2014, in Scotland in December 2014, and Northern Ireland in 2020.

According to the US-based Pew Research Center, in 2020, same-sex marriages accounted for 3.3 per cent of marriages in England and Wales, 3.5 per cent in Scotland, and 4.2 per cent in Northern Ireland.

According to the United Kingdom census of 2021, there were 268,522 married same-sex spouses and 133,618 people in same-sex civil partnerships in England and Wales.

In 2021, 0.2 per cent of people in the UK were in a same-sex marriage and 0.1 per cent were in a same-sex civil partnership, according to ONS figures reported by the Guardian.