The end of 2017 is nigh, making way for 2018 – when hopefully even more marriage equality comes into effect around the world.
With Austria legalising same-sex marriage today (December 5), we’ve compiled a list of its fellow countries (as well as a couple of islands, some states and an archipelago) that have taken a step in the right direction this year.
Well done to them! Hooray, and congrats…
March 1, 2017: Same-sex marriage is legalised in Finland. It came after a long wait for marriage equality, with weddings coming several years after the Finnish Parliament first passed a citizens’ initiative on same-sex marriage way back in 2014.
The change means that all Nordic countries – Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden – now allow same-sex couples to marry.
April 12, 2017: The Falkland Islands, located in the South Atlantic ocean, passed historic legislation to legalise same-sex marriage. The Legislative Assembly also voted overwhelmingly to approve civil partnerships for both same-sex and heterosexual couples.
The British Overseas Territory, which has a population of around 3,000, passed the law with seven votes in favour, and one against.
The extension of marriage rights comes after a public consultation, which found that 90% of respondents within the Falkland Islands were in favour of same-sex marriage and 94% were in favour of civil partnerships for all couples.
A spokesperson for the Falkland Islands told PinkNews: “The move sends a clear and powerful message that all people and all relationships are equal, it does not matter whether they are a same sex couple or not and the law now reflects the Falkland Islands’ tradition of being an open, tolerant and respectful community.”
May 2, 2017: Same-sex marriage became legal in Guernsey, after being approved by a vote of 33-5 on September 21, 2016.
The Balliwicks of Jersey and Guernsey (the Channel Islands) – which have a population of just 165,000 – are crown dependencies, and retain autonomy from the United Kingdom. Jersey continues to ban same-sex weddings.
Last year, the Jersey States overwhelmingly accepted proposals that begin to bring Jersey into line with England, Wales and Scotland, by permitting same-sex couples to wed.
Until the marriage equality vote, Guernsey was of the few places in Western Europe – and the only place in Great Britain or the UK –that didn’t allow either civil partnerships or same-sex marriage.
May 5, 2017: Same-sex marriage became legal in Bermuda after a gay couple won their legal challenge to tie the knot in the country.
Bermudian native Winston Godwin and his Canadian fiancé Greg DeRoche took their case to the Supreme Court, arguing that the country’s Human Rights Act protected their right to marry.
The court ruled that not letting the pair marry was a discriminatory violation of human rights.
However, lawmakers have since attempted to roll back the measure. A fresh bill banning same-sex weddings is currently awaiting approval from the Governor.
May 24, 2017: Taiwan’s Constitutional Court ruled that same-sex marriage was legal, making it the first Asian country to order its parliament to allow same-sex couples to wed.
The highest court in the land ruled that Article 972 of the Civil Code, which states that marriage is between a man and a woman, is unconstitutional. The court ruling goes into effect no later than May 24, 2019.
July 1, 2017: Marriage equality came into effect in the Faroe Islands, a self-governing archipelago.
The Faroe Islands voted to make it legal for same-sex couples to marry last year, but the legislation required a change in law from the government of Denmark in order to be put into practice.
The country of just 49,000 inhabitants is seen as a kingdom of Denmark – which legalised same-sex marriage back in 2012, including religious ceremonies.
September 1, 2017: Same-sex marriage became legal in Malta. A bill for legalisation passed Parliament on July 12 and was signed by the President on August 1.
The bill’s passage was remarkably smooth, with just one of the country’s 67 MPs voting against the law – Nationalist MP Edwin Vassallo.
The country’s Prime Minister Joseph Muscat, a strong supporter of LGBT equality, brought forward proposals to introduce equal marriage earlier this year.
October 1, 2017: Same-sex marriage becomes legal in Germany, after MPs voted by a clear majority to legalise same-sex marriage back in June.
After years of campaigning, things moved swiftly with a vote being announced, carried out and successfully passed in a matter of days.
393 members of parliament voted in favour of the bill, with 296 voting against and 4 abstentions.
November 15, 2017: Same-sex marriage is approved by a non-binding postal plebiscite in Australia, with 61.6% of the population voting yes. Once an amendment to the Marriage Act 1961 is passed by parliament, Australia will have legalised same-sex marriage.
Almost 13 million Australians (79.5%) voted in the country’s non-binding postal ballot – a bigger turnout than in even the UK’s EU referendum.
Yes responses represented 61.6 percent of responses with 38.4 percent voting No.
However, the public vote is not legally binding, so both houses still need to pass legislation for it to become legal – though there could be a bit of a wait for those who wish to marry.
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The standard waiting time for legislation to take effect is 30 days.
However, this could be longer if the Government decides that celebrants and other officials need more time to get acquainted with the new law.
December 5, 2017: The Constitutional Court of Austria legalised same-sex marriage – with weddings set to begin in 2019.
Austria has permitted same-sex couples to enter civil partnerships since 2010, but politicians have repeatedly rejected attempts to legalise equal marriage.
Now, the court has ruled that not allowing same-sex couples to marry is discrimination.
Tristan da Cunha and Ascension Island
Same-sex marriage became legal in Ascension Island on January 1, 2017, and then in Tristan da Cunha on August 4, 2017.
Mexican states of Chiapas, Puebla and Baja California
Same-sex marriage became legal in the Mexican state of Chiapas on July 11, 2017. This was followed by The Supreme Court of Mexico’s declaration that same-sex marriage was to be legal in the state of Puebla on August 1, 2017. And, same-sex marriage became legal in the state of Baja California on November 3, 2017 by government decree.