Leap forward for marriage recognition

Central & South America map

The number of nations allowing same-sex marriage is set to nearly double after the Inter-American Court of Human Rights ruled in favour of it.

The president of Costa Rica had sought a ruling on the issue, and after a lengthy process the court made its ruling this week – that the countries in the IACHR area must legislate same-sex marriage and “ensure the protection of all the rights of families formed by same-sex couples, without discrimination”.

Twenty countries are signed up to hold by the Court’s rulings, but only four of them – Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Colombia – already have same-sex marriage laws in place. The sixteen additional nations have around 280 million citizens in total.

As the map below reflects, the ruling should lead to legislation in larger countries like Mexico, Peru and Chile, as well as smaller states like Haiti, Costa Rica and Barbados.

If all affected nations comply with the ruling, it will leave places like Cuba and Venezuela looking as isolated in the Americas as Northern Ireland does in Western Europe.

Central & South America map

Countries affected in pink; countries with existing marriage laws in purple.