Legal Recognition of Same-Sex Relationships

The legal recognition of same-sex relationships throughout the world is complex and evolving rapidly. Certain jurisdictions afford same-sex couples the same rights to marriage as opposite-sex couples, while other jurisdictions have created a separate legal status, such as civil unions, for same-sex couples. At the same time, many countries around the world continue to prohibit same-sex couples from entering into any form of legally recognized relationships. Making the situation even more complex is the fact that, in several countries, marriage questions, such as who can get married and when foreign marriages are recognized, are determined not at the federal level, but by the laws of states or other subordinate jurisdictions within the country. And, especially recently, those laws are changing rapidly through various channels, such as executive order, legislative action, court decision, or popular vote.

This guide is intended to provide a resource to help answer questions regarding whether particular jurisdictions throughout the world afford legal recognition to same-sex couples. For all U.N. recognized countries, including their constituent parts such as each U.S. State, and Taiwan, the guide answers whether legal recognition of same-sex couples is granted and, if so, provides answers to various follow-up questions, such as whether marriage or some other status is afforded same-sex couples, whether foreign same-sex marriages are recognized in the jurisdiction, and the manner in which same-sex couples may dissolve their relationships.

To locate information about particular jurisdictions, please click through appropriate continents shown below or click on the Alpha bar for an alphabetical list of all jurisdictions covered by this guide.

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