Canada legalized gay marriage Wednesday, becoming the world's fourth nation to grant full legal rights to same-sex couples. Supreme Court Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin signed the legislation making it law, hours after it was approved by the Senate late Tuesday night despite strong opposition from Conservatives and religious leaders. The bill gives homosexual couples the same rights as those in traditional unions between a man and a woman, something already legal in eight of Canada's 10 provinces and in two of its three territories. The legislation drafted by Prime Minister Paul Martin's minority Liberal Party government easily passed the Senate, which essentially rubber stamps any bill already passed by the House of Commons, which passed it late last month. The Netherlands, Belgium and Spain are the only other nations that allow gay marriage nationwide.
How Canada led the way on same-sex marriage
Here are the 29 countries where same-sex marriage is officially legal | GMA
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LGBT rights in Canada
Same-sex marriage , the practice of marriage between two men or between two women. Although same-sex marriage has been regulated through law, religion, and custom in most countries of the world, the legal and social responses have ranged from celebration on the one hand to criminalization on the other. Some scholars, most notably the Yale professor and historian John Boswell —94 , have argued that same-sex unions were recognized by the Roman Catholic Church in medieval Europe, although others have disputed this claim. Scholars and the general public became increasingly interested in the issue during the late 20th century, a period when attitudes toward homosexuality and laws regulating homosexual behaviour were liberalized, particularly in western Europe and the United States. The issue of same-sex marriage frequently sparked emotional and political clashes between supporters and opponents.
June 26 marks the fifth anniversary of gay marriage being legalized across the entire United States. To commemorate this milestone in LGBTQ history, we are taking a look at countries around the world that have officially legalized same-sex marriage. Below is a timeline for the 29 countries where same-sex marriage is officially legal. The year marks when the law was first enacted in that country. The country became the first in the world to legalize same-sex marriage.