Australia joins 25 other nations in legalising same-sex marriage
First legal same-sex unions will be in January after required month’s notice is served
Australia became the 26th nation to legalise same-sex marriage, following a postal survey in which Australians overwhelmingly voted in support of formalising the unions. The laws, which will also recognise same-sex marriages carried out in foreign countries, take effect from Saturday. Because a month’s notice is required for the state to recognise a marriage, the first legal same-sex unions will be in January.
*Same-sex marriage is legal in 26 nations: Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Britain, Canada, Colombia, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greenland, Iceland, Ireland, Luxembourg, Malta, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Uruguay, United States.
*It is also set to become legal soon in Austria and Taiwan, following court rulings on the matter this year.
*In some of these countries, such as Mexico and Britain, marriage is only open to same-sex couples in some regions. Northern Ireland is the only part of the United Kingdom where same-sex marriage is not allowed.
*The first country to legalise same-sex marriage was the Netherlands in 2001.
*Some Australian states ruled homosexual acts to be illegal until just 20 years ago.
*In Africa, where homosexuality is a crime in many countries and can lead to imprisonment or the death penalty, South Africa alone has granted the same access to gay couples. Same-sex marriage legislation came into force there in 2006.
*No countries in Asia allow same-sex couples to marry or enter civil unions of any kind. In May, Taiwan’s constitutional court ruled that same-sex couples have the right to legally marry, the first such ruling in Asia.
*Almost one in three adults globally believe people of the same sex should be allowed to marry, a survey of almost 100,000 people in 65 countries showed in 2016.