Referendums have previously been held in Croatia and Slovenia, and in both cases voters rejected legalising gay marriage. In Slovenia same-sex marriages were, however, legalised by parliament in March 2015.
THE NETHERLANDS: In April 2001, The Netherlands became the first country to allow gays and lesbians to marry in a civil ceremony and adopt children.
BELGIUM: Same-sex marriage was made legal in June 2003, but some restrictions apply. Homosexual couples were allowed to adopt children in 2006.
SPAIN: The country’s socialist government made same-sex marriage legal in July 2005. Homosexual couples were also allowed to adopt, regardless of their marital status.
NORWAY: Homosexuals and heterosexuals were put on the same legal footing in January 2009 and allowed to marry, adopt and resort to assisted reproductive technologies.
SWEDEN: Same-sex couples were allowed to marry in civil or Lutheran Church ceremonies in May 2009. Adoptions for all have been legal since 2003.
PORTUGAL: Same-sex marriage has been legal since June 2010 but adoptions by homosexuals are not.
ICELAND: Same-sex marriages were legalised in June 2010, adoptions by homosexuals in 2006.
DENMARK: Since June 2012, gays and lesbians are allowed to marry in Lutheran Church ceremonies. Denmark was the first country in the world to legalise civil unions for gays and lesbians in 1989.
FRANCE: Same-sex marriage and adoptions by homosexuals were legalised in May 2013.
ENGLAND AND WALES: A law authorising same-sex marriage was adopted in July 2013, followed by SCOTLAND in February 2014. British-controlled NORTHERN IRELAND remains deeply divided on the issue and is the only part of the United Kingdom not to make the change.
LUXEMBOURG: Parliament approved same-sex marriage in June 2014 and, just months after the law came into force, Prime Minister Xavier Bettel married his gay partner in May 2015.
SLOVENIA: Parliament voted in March 2015 to legalise gay marriage, three years after Slovenians voted against the measure in a referendum.
FINLAND: Voted for gay marriage in 2014, with the law set to come into effect in 2017.
CANADA: A law authorising same-sex marriage and adoptions entered into force in July 2005.
UNITED STATES: Same-sex marriage is legal in 37 states as well as the capital Washington, DC. In a landmark decision in June 2013 the US Supreme Court found that couples in same-sex marriages are entitled to the same benefits and protections as their heterosexual counterparts. Judges are due to rule on the status of gay marriage nationwide in June.
MEXICO: The country’s federal capital has allowed same-sex marriage since 2009.
ARGENTINA: In July 2010, Argentina became the first Latin American country to legalise same-sex marriage. Homosexual couples can also adopt.
URUGUAY: In April 2013, Uruguay became the second Latin American country to approve same-sex marriage. It had legalised adoptions by same-sex couples in 2009.
BRAZIL: It has de facto authorised same-sex marriage since May 14, 2013, after the National Council of Justice ordered clerks to register all marriages pending the adoption of a law by parliament.
SOUTH AFRICA: In November 2006, it became the first African country to legalise same-sex civil partnerships or marriage, also allowing couples to adopt.
NEW ZEALAND: Marriage between homosexuals was legalised in April 2013, around 27 years after homosexuality was decriminalised in the first such decision in the Asia-Pacific region. – AFP