During Pride Month, a Look at LGBT Rights

New Map Shows Same-Sex Marriage, Civil Unions and Registered Partnerships Worldwide

June is Pride Month in many parts of the world, commemorating the Stonewall uprising of June 1969, when lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people in New York stood up against police brutality and injustice and demanded fair treatment. This Pride Month, we celebrate Chile and Switzerland for legalizing same-sex marriage in the past year.

Throughout Pride Month, LGBT people and their allies celebrate their accomplishments achieved since Stonewall, but they also advocate for what needs to be done in order to secure full equal rights and non-discrimination in their own countries and in solidarity with LGBT people elsewhere, in situations where anti-LGBT discrimination and violence are rampant.

Marriage equality remains an issue at the forefront of Pride.

In celebration of Pride Month, Human Rights Watch has updated our marriage equality map, which provides an overview of countries with marriage equality, civil unions or registered partnership; links to the relevant legislation; and, where possible, a brief explanation of the path – legislative, judicial, or other – that these countries took to achieve marriage equality or to provide for same-sex civil unions or registered partnership.

As legal situations change in countries, this map will be further updated.

In 2001, the Netherlands became the first country to open civil marriage to same-sex couples. Other countries followed. Today there are 31 countries with marriage equality—most recently, Austria, Chile, Costa Rica, and Switzerland.

An additional twelve countries have made civil unions or registered partnerships available for same-sex couples. In some cases, civil unions or registered partnership provide all the same rights and responsibilities of civil marriage and differ in name only; countries with such laws include Croatia, Greece, and Slovenia. In other cases, civil unions provide some, but not all, of these rights.

In 2018, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights issued an advisory opinion on the interpretation of the Inter-American Convention on Human Rights in respect of marriage equality. The Court encouraged member states to take actions towards eliminating discrimination and achieving marriage equality.

There are causes to celebrate during Pride Month, as laws and policies continue to improve LGBT rights around the world.

We hope this map will assist those who are looking for this type of information. We decided to only mark independent countries on our map and not overseas territories, regions, departments or possessions. That’s why we did not include Bermuda, Greenland or Aruba for instance. If you have additional information, you can contact Human Rights Watch via lgbt@hrw.org.

Recognition of same-sex relationships

Click on each country for a snapshot of current legislation. For more information and Human Rights Watch reporting on LGBT rights, click on the country name in the black pop-up box.

  • Legislative
  • Judicial
  • Marriage
  • Referendum/Legislative
  • Judicial/Legislative
  • Civil Union