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Questions and answers about same-sex marriage around the world

Wednesday, April 17, 2013
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New Zealand lawmakers on Wednesday gave final approval to a same-sex marriage bill, joining a dozen other countries. Here are some questions and answers about gay marriage around the world:

Q: What other countries have legalized same-sex marriage?

A: The Netherlands (2001); Belgium (2003); Spain, Canada (2005); South Africa (2006); Norway (2008); Sweden (2009); Argentina, Iceland, Portugal (2010); Denmark (2012). Lawmakers in Uruguay approved a law last week that President Jose Mujica is expected to sign. In France, a final vote on a marriage equality bill is scheduled for April 23 in the National Assembly.

Q: Where else is same-sex marriage legal?

A: In the United States, a law prevents the federal government from recognizing gay marriage, but nine states have legalized it — Connecticut, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Vermont and Washington state — as have the District of Columbia and two Native American tribal jurisdictions. Most other states have approved constitutional amendments barring gay marriage. Mexico City allows gay marriage, although Mexico as a whole doesn’t.

Q: What about adoption for gay couples?

A: Gay couples can legally adopt in all of the countries that have legalized gay marriage, plus Brazil and the United Kingdom.

Q: What countries criminalize homosexuality?

According to a 2011 United Nations report on the human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, same-sex conduct is illegal in 76 countries and punishable by death in at least five of them: Iran, Mauritania, Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Yemen.

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