Same-sex marriage, also known as gay marriage, is marriage between two persons of the same biological sex or gender identity. Legal recognition of same-sex marriage is sometimes referred to as marriage equality, particularly by advocates and supporters.
Since 2000, eleven countries (Argentina, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Iceland, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, South Africa, Sweden) have legalized same-sex marriage, as have parts of Brazil and Mexico. In 2013, bills to legalize same-sex marriage were passed in Uruguay, New Zealand and France, although those laws have not yet taken effect.
In the United States, same-sex marriage is legal in nine states (Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, New Hampshire, New York, Vermont and Washington), and in the District of Columbia. (Same-sex marriage will become legal in Delaware on July 1, 2013, and in Rhode Island on August 1, 2013.)