No, These Countries Actually DON'T Have Same-Sex Marriage

Many countries we think of as gay paradises lag behind when it comes to marriage.

Many of the places we think of as LGBT-friendly still have a ways to go when it comes to full equality.

Take Germany: It has the largest LGBT population in Europe, and enacted anti-discrimination laws back in 2006. But the Bundestag only passed marriage equality in June 2017.

Here are seven more otherwise progressive countries where marriage equality is still not the law of the land.


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Brides kiss near the Colosseum during the Gay Pride Parade (LGBT) on June 13, 2015 in Rome. AFP PHOTO / FILIPPO MONTEFORTE (Photo credit should read FILIPPO MONTEFORTE/AFP/Getty Images)

Cities like Rome and Milan have a healthy gay scene, but thanks to the still-potent influence of the Catholic Church, same-sex marriage is still a no-go.

In 2016, Italy passed a civil-union law, but its not on par with full marriage, especially when it comes to adoption.

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ROME, ITALY - 2016/01/30: Pro-families demonstrators and associations take part in a rally, at Circus Maximus, in defense of marriage and the traditional family in the eve of a decisive parliamentary vote on the bill that legalizes same-sex civil unions in Rome, Italy. Around a million people from all over Italy attend a 'Family Day' rally, at Rome's Circus Maximus, to defend the traditional family at the same time as the Italian legislature prepares to vote on a bill legalising civil gay unions. The Family Day aim to defend the traditional family and to protest against the Cirinnà bill passing through the Italian Parliament. The legislation, which was introduced by Senator Monica Cirinnà, proposes giving same-sex couples many of the same rights as married couples. (Photo by Giuseppe Ciccia/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)

"There’s still a strong view that there’s only one way to create a family—the old-fashioned, procreative way, by a committed opposite-sex couple in a marital relationship," wrote legal expert John Culhane in Slate. "Adoptions by opposite-sex couples are a concession to reality, but the visible defiance of the marriage/procreation norm manifest in same-sex adoption is apparently a bridge too far. The new law doesn’t even allow a nonbiological partner in a civil union to adopt her partner’s child."


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TOKYO, JAPAN - APRIL 28: Participants in the Tokyo Rainbow Pride parade march through the streets of Shibuya district on April 28, 2013 in Tokyo, Japan. The parade celebrates the diversity of the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) community and raises awareness of issues facing LGBT people in Japan, spreading the message that LGBT rights are human rights. (Photo by Keith Tsuji/Getty Images)

Japan has a vibrant LGBT community, and its annual Tokyo Rainbow Parade draws thousands of participants. But lingering cultural and societal taboos surrounding homosexuality have stalled the country from offering legal protections for its queer community—let alone marriage equality.

Things seem to be looking up, though: Japan has a handful of openly gay and trans elected officials, and as of 2015, lawmakers have banned gay conversion therapy.


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Israelis take part in the annual Gay Pride parade in the Israeli city of Tel Aviv, on June 9, 2017. Tens of thousands of revellers from Israel and abroad packed the streets of Tel Aviv for the city's annual Gay Pride march, billed as the Middle East's biggest. / AFP PHOTO / JACK GUEZ (Photo credit should read JACK GUEZ/AFP/Getty Images)

Israel is the most gay-friendly country in the Middle East, with Tel Aviv's massive Pride celebration and anti-discrimination laws in employment, education and public services.

LGBT people can serve openly in the military—one of Israel's top army officials is gay—and the government spent nearly $3 million to promote LGBT equality. .

But the country's powerful religious Jewish minority has blocked efforts at marriage equality,even though 79% of Israelis support it. Same-sex couples can only register for civil unions, which grant limited benefits, if they both claim to not belong to any recognized religion.


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A gay couple takes part in the first collective wedding between persons of the same genre in Acapulco, Guerrero State, Mexico on July 10, 2015. AFP PHOTO / Pedro PARDO (Photo credit should read Pedro PARDO/AFP/Getty Images)

Despite Mexico's many gay-friendly vacation spots, the fight for marriage equality continues to face setbacks.

Same-sex marriage is legal in some Mexican states and municipalities, but not across the land: A a federal marriage-equality bill was shot down by Mexico's congress in 2016 , following months of heated anti-LGBT protests around the country.


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Customers relaxing at a waterfront taverna in the Little Venice quarter, colourful houses lit by the setting sun, Mykonos Town (aka Hora, Chora), Mykonos, Cyclades Islands, South Aegean, Greece, Europe.

Mykonos may be a gay travel oasis but gay Greeks are still thirsty for marriage equality, thanks to the influence of the Greek Orthodox Church.

Civil unions were only enacted in 2015 and surveys show that a little more than half of all Greeks support same-sex marriage.

In 2008, the mayor of Tilos married two same-sex couples, citing a legal loophole that marriage laws didn't technically reference gender. Following outcry from the church, a motion was filed to annul the marriages. The couples have continued to appeal the case—they now await a decision from the European Court of Human Rights.

Northern Ireland

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BELFAST, IRELAND - 2016/08/06: Thousands of people take part in the annual Belfast Gay Pride event in Belfast city centre celebrating Northern Ireland's LGBT community. Northern Ireland is the only part of the UK where same sex marriage is still not allowed. Starting in 1991 with barely 100 participants, Belfast Pride has since grown to become the largest in Ireland. (Photo by John Rooney/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Like much of the U.K., Northern Ireland has a vocal and proud LGBT population (and relatively queer-friendly policies.) But it only offers civil unions for same-sex couples—a policy that separates the nation from England, Scotland, and Wales, all of which have equal marriage laws.

In November 2015, the Northern Irish Assembly held a vote on a marriage equality bill. The bill actually won the popular vote, but the nation's unique legal system meant that the bill was shot down by a "petition of concern" and ultimately unsuccessful.

Super-conservative officials from Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) have a stronghold on its political arena. Advocates say DUP's anti-gay sentiment has stalled and will continue to stall any forward motion for a future equal marriage bill.


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Switzerland is widely considered one of the most socially progressive nations in the world, but despite a long history of LGBT-friendliness, it still doesn't recognize same-sex marriage.

Civil unions were enacted in 2007, but gay couples still can't legally adopt children together and remain beholden to separate rules when it comes to taxes and social-security benefits.

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