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The right to love: Is 2019 the year when same-sex marriages will be legalised?

Across the world, LGBT rights were among debates in 2018 and 2019 will be no different, perhaps, it will be more eventful. But will same-sex marriages be legalised?

January 02, 2019 / 04:01 PM IST

In 2018, the Supreme Court of India decriminalised homosexuality, overruled its own 2013 decision and partially struck down Section 377.

With the Stonewall riots - that triggered the gay rights movement - marking its 50th anniversary next year, we look at how homosexuality is treated across the world.


Most of Asia is tolerant towards homosexuality. In some countries like Nepal and Vietnam, the remaining taboos for the same are slowly getting eroded.

Taiwan is set to become the first Asian country to legalise gay marriage after its highest court announced that not allowing same-sex marriage was unconstitutional and gave two years to the authorities to legalise same-sex marriages.

The Philippines' top court in June started hearing arguments for the legalisation of gay marriage. India’s neighbouring countries like China, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Malaysia have classified homosexuality as a mental illness and it is punishable with imprisonment and/or lashes.


The continent is said to be the pioneer in standing up to the rights of homosexuals and supporting gay marriages. In 2001, Netherlands became the first country to legalise same-sex marriages.

Austria is set to legalise it next year. In Russia homosexuality was considered a crime up to 1993 and a mental illness until 1999. A 2013 law punishes the promotion of homosexuality among minors. Many Western European countries have allowed same-sex couples to adopt children.

15 European countries including Britain, Germany, Northern Ireland, and France still classify it as a crime.


While homosexuality is still considered a crime in several countries in the African continent, Kenya’s top court has a hearing in February 2019 for legalising homosexuality. This could pave way for other courts in the continent to take steps in the direction.


The United States of America legalised same-sex marriage in the year 2015. Canada did it in 2005. Mexico legalised gay unions in 2007 and legalised marriages in 2009. Following them, South American countries like Argentina, Uruguay, Brazil have legalised gay marriage and adoption.

Middle East

The countries in the Middle East have the harshest of rules against homosexuality. Lebanon, however, is the most tolerant. Several Arab countries in this conservative region like Saudi Arabia and UAE have strict laws like death-penalty. Israel, on the other hand, has recognised gay marriages elsewhere but has not allowed unions to be established in its own country.
Moneycontrol News
first published: Jan 2, 2019 04:01 pm

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