The Irish Minister for Justice and Equality Alan Shatter, has made an order recognising gay and lesbian couples who married abroad in places where equal marriage became legal in 2013.

The order means that couples married in the Australian Capital Territory, France, Brazil, New Zealand, Uruguay or the six US states that have legalised equal marriage in 2013, will have their marriages recognised.

The order also means those with civil unions in Jersey or Colorado will also be recognised.

Those with such marriages or civil partnerships will now be able to take advantage of rights and entitlements which apply to Irish Civil partnerships.

These benefits work across a comprehensive range of areas including inheritance, tax, pensions, shared property, social welfare, citizenship, immigration, equality provisions and next of kin status.

Announcing the making of the order, Minister Shatter noted that “there will be further changes in 2014, not least the opening out of marriage to same-sex couples in England Wales. These will be recognised in future orders”.

“The recognition of marriage in France, Brazil, New Zealand, Uruguay, Australian Capital Territory and in six US States is excellent news for any couples based in Ireland who have availed of the rapidly improving environment for lesbian and gay couples” said Kieran Rose, GLEN Chair.

“Minister Shatter and the Government are to be congratulated for continuing to update the Civil Partnership legislation, as promised in the Programme for Government” Rose continued.

The order takes effect on 31 December 2013. It means that 57 forms of marriage or civil partnership of lesbian and gay couples from 45 jurisdictions are now recognised in Ireland.

The first poll since the announcement of a same-sex marriage referendum found that 76% of Irish voters support the legislation.

Ireland’s cabinet last month formally agreed to hold a referendum on equal marriage in 2015.

Earlier this year, a poll commissioned by Marriage Equality Ireland showed that the percentage of people in support of equal marriage had risen by 12%, since 2008, and in 2012 was 75%.

In April, Ireland’s Constitutional Convention recommended that Ireland’s constitution be changed to allow same-sex couples to marry and have the same legal rights as the rest of the population.