By Waseem Abbasi, USA Today (published July 7, 2017)
Germany is set to become 23rd country in the world to legalize same-sex marriage after its parliament voted in favor of the bill last week. The measure is likely be signed into law by the president later this month after formal approval of the upper house.
Germany, the largest country in Western Europe by population, becomes the 15th European nation to change its laws to allow gay marriage. This number counts England and Wales as one country and Scotland as a separate entity, since those parts of the United Kingdom passed two separate pieces of legislation on same-sex marriage. Northern Ireland, the other U.K. constituent state, has not legalized such marriages.
According to the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA) same-sex marriage is legal in these 22 countries:
Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, Britain, Canada, Colombia, Denmark, Finland, France, Greenland, Iceland, Ireland, Luxembourg, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Uruguay and the United States.
Currently in Mexico, marriage equality is recognized in certain jurisdictions within the nation. This process is similar to how it was done with the United States until the Obergefell opinion by the Supreme Court in 2015, according to GLAAD, the world’s largest gay rights group.
Northern Ireland is the only part of the United Kingdom where same-sex marriage is not allowed while some regions in Mexico also still do not allow same-sex marriages.
The newly-elected prime minister of Malta, Joseph Muscat, has also pledged to legalize gay marriage in the country.
In Asia, no country has so far legalized same-sex marriage. However, a constitutional court in Taiwan ruled in May that same-sex couples have the right to legally marry.
In Africa, only South Africa has granted the same access to gay couples. Same-sex marriage legislation happened in 2006.
There are at least 71 countries (37% of United Nation member states) where same-sex sexual activity is a crime. The death penalty is implemented for same-sex sexual activity within eight of these countries.
These countries include Iran, Sudan, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Somalia, Nigeria, Syria and Iraq, according to ILGA.
In 124 countries, same-sex sexual acts are not criminalized.