Same-sex marriage hasn’t been legal worldwide for very long. Many partners lived together and held ceremonies but as the world has changed more and more countries strive for marriage equality.
Here are some of the first couples to marry in their country once they were allowed. These are the first legal marriages, people had been living together, in civil unions and holding unofficial ceremonies for years.
The Netherlands was the first country to legalise same-sex marriage. The law was signed in December and four couples simultaneously became the first to be legally married.
According to BBC, the four couples responded to an advert in Gay Krant, the magazine that led the campaign for equal marriage in the company.
They were married the moment the law came into effect, cementing them as the first.
In Canada, same-sex marriage was legalised in different provinces at different times but was made universal in 2005. In Ontario, it has became legal in 2003.
Michael Stark and Michael Leshner became the first couple to be married in June 2003 after the Ontario Court of Appeal upheld a lower court ruling to legally allow such marriages.
Spain has a documented same-sex marriage from 1901, and it was legal. This was only because one of the women pretended to be her partners male cousin.
Marcela Gracia Ibeas and Elisa Sánchez Loriga, were married in A Coruña (Galicia, Spain). Elisa took on the false name and male identity Mario Sánchez, which was listed on the marriage certificate.
However, the first legal marriage after a change in the laws was between Emilio Menendez and Carlos Baturin. The two had been together for thirty years before they got hitched.
According to Business Insider, Menendez’s 88-year-old mother Marina was so happy about the wedding she paid for their honeymoon.
South Africa, 2006
Despite having it in the constitution that South Africans can’t be discriminated against on the basis of their sexuality, same-sex marriage was only legalised in 2006.
The first couple to marry under this new law were Vernon Gibbs and Tony Halls who exchanged vows at the Home Affairs in George, Western Cape.
The occasion was joyous, despite the two death threats the couple received before the wedding.
Alex Freyre and José María Di Bello were not only the first to be married but were actually legally married before same-sex marriage became legal across the country.
Their marriage sparked much debate as they were originally given permission to marry by a judge in Buenos Aires gave them permission to marry on November 20 2009, but that decision was overturned by a national judge on November 23. This was then again overturned by the Buenos Aires judge the next day.
Eventually they were given permission by the governor of Ushuaia.
The next year in 2010, President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner officially signed equal gay marriage rights into law for the entire country.
England and Wales, 2014
England and Wales legalised same-sex marriage in March 2014.
Sarah Keith and Emma Powell were among the first couples to take advantage of this change and get married. They had been together for 11 years after meeting at university in 2003.
United States, 2015
The different states in the United States legalised same-sex marriage at different times.
The first legal same-sex marriage happened in 2004 in Massachusetts after the state’s Supreme Court overturned its ban. Marcia Kadish and Tanya McCloskey married a year after this ban was overturned.
However, it was only in 2015 that same-sex marriage was legalised across the country after a landmark legal case.
Many took the opportunity across the country to get married on the same day as the ruling passed.
Germany legalised same-sex marriage in 2017, with the first same-sex wedding took place in the same month.
Karl Kreile and Bodo Mende, who had been together for 38 years, got married in the town hall of Schöneberg, Berlin.
Australia legalised same-sex marriage in 2017 after a voluntary postal survey of all Australians resulted in 61.6% of respondents supporting legalisation of same-sex marriage.
The first same-sex wedding was held on 15 December 2017 when Jill Kindt and Jo Grant tied the knot. Sadly, they were only married for 48 days as Jo had been terminally ill with cancer and died in January 2018. The two had been together eight years before their wedding.
In 2019, Taiwan became the first Asian country to legalise same-sex marriage. Hundreds of couples got married a week after parliament passed the new law but Marc Yuan and Shane Lin were the ones to sign the first wedding certificate.
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