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Same-sex marriage

Legally-binding same-sex marriages, first solemnised in Amsterdam in 2001, are now performed in many countries around the world. Including ArgentinaAustraliaAustriaBelgiumBrazilCanadaColombiaDenmarkEcuadorFinlandFranceGermanyIcelandIrelandLuxembourgMaltaNew ZealandNorwayPortugalSouth AfricaSpainSwedenTaiwan, the United Kingdom, the United States and Uruguay as well as parts of Mexico (CACHCDMXQR), and the Netherlands (except ArubaCuraçaoSint Maarten). Some other countries perform or recognize unions similar to marriage between two same-sex persons, the name and form of which varies considerably around the world.

British citizens may have access to marriage in a limited number of British consulates abroad in nations which neither object to nor offer same-sex marriage locally.

Very few countries in the modern era grant captains of ships flying their flag in international waters the right to officiate marriage. Weddings aboard ships at sea were briefly offered by the Bermuda-flagged Carnival line (Cunard, Princess and P&O) vessels; as of 2018, their legal status has been oscillating as the Bermudan government continues to legislate against same-sex marriage and court decisions strike down those laws.

The willingness of individual churches and temples to solemnise same-sex marriage varies. One option is a non-religious wedding, such as a civil wedding (at a city hall or court house) or a secular humanist officiant who may conduct a wedding in the venue of your choice. The Metropolitan Community Church was founded to reach out to the LGBT community, the Unitarian/Universalist churches and the Society of Friends (Quakers) are usually supportive and a few other groups (such as an Affirming United group within the United Church of Canada) embrace equality. Some of these groups have marched in local Pride events. In some religious communities same sex marriage is an area of dispute; e.g. in Finland the Lutheran church has not decided officially on the matter (there is not a big enough majority either way) and some priests do wed same-sex couples despite some bishops thinking they do not have the right to do so.

As laws vary, marriages (and less-than-marriage civil partnerships) from foreign jurisdictions may not be recognized as valid in your home country, and indeed, a married same-sex couple may not be recognized as such in some countries. Residence or citizenship requirements for marriage (and divorce) also vary between nations. If your own country believes your relationship does not legally exist and the country in which you married only hears divorce cases for its own people, a divorce might not be an option.

Any of this information may change rapidly due to referenda, changes in local laws or court cases making their way through multiple appeals. In some jurisdictions, same-sex couples have gained, lost, then regained the right to marry – sometimes causing a rush to registry offices as the situation may change on each appeal hearing, ending at a national supreme court.

If your plans are elaborate or may be difficult to change, be sure to consult the relevant authorities well before your wedding date.

wikivoyage.org

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