Times they are a changing. Slowly but surely, more and more countries are coming around to respect that same-sex relationships should have the same rights and protections that hetero couples enjoy. Loving, committed gay and lesbian couples are now free to legally wed in twenty-one progressive nations around the world. Several others countries are taking steps in that direction, so expect that number to rise. For now, it’s still a fraction of the planet, but there’s a powerful shift underway. For some, it’s a controversial issue mired in religious rhetoric and outdated notions. Remember, it wasn’t that long ago that interracial couples were considered taboo, but we’ve evolved since then. Legalized same-sex marriage is a pro-family step that provides hetero- and homosexual unions equal dignity in the eyes of the law. As for now, here are the 21 enlightened countries that have marriage equality. Love wins.
1. The Netherlands: April 1, 2001
The first country in the world to recognize same-sex marriage was the Netherlands. With fourteen years of acceptance under their belts, many early opponents to the law now recognize that this move hasn’t destroyed the institution of marriage at all.