With the gay marriage bill in the UK currently in the process of hopefully being passed by the House of Lords soon and after the recent news of New Zealand and France legalising gay marriage, equality for LGBT people around the world is slowly but surely becoming a reality in some countries. At present, there are 14 countries that recognise same-sex marriages and allows same-sex couples to marry, while in other countries it is legal in some states and areas (such as the US and Brazil) or same-sex marriages from other countries are recognised but not performed (for example, Israel).
So if you want to go abroad and get married, which of the 14 countries are the best place, not only to get married in but also travel to? Here are our top 7 picks and why:
7) The Netherlands
The Netherlands who was the first country to extend full marriage laws to include same-sex couples. The Netherlands is a very liberal country in general and Amsterdam, its capital, is known to be one of the most gay-friendly cities in the world.
6) South Africa
While many countries in Africa are very much against homosexuality, South Africa became the first in the continent, the second outside of Europe and fifth overall to legalise same-sex marriage, which will hopefully set a good example to the rest of Africa. South Africa has a lot to offer tourists, especially those who love outdoor adventures and wildlife.
5) New Zealand
The thirteenth country to legalise same-sex marriage, New Zealand seems to have always kept quiet when it comes to equal rights, especially when its neighbour, Australia, is still hotly debating over the topic. While Australia is of course a very popular travel destination, New Zealand is often forgotten about, but does in fact have a lot to offer travellers – and with it being close to Australia, you can easily visit both while you’re “down under”.
Being a predominantly Catholic country, Argentina may seem like an unlikely place where gays are accepted but it is in fact becoming more liberal and isn’t as strict as it may seem, especially its capital, Buenos Aires, which is now known as one of the most popular gay travel destinations.
Canada became the fourth country in the world and the first in the Americas and outside of Europe to legalise gay marriage in 2005. With Canada being such a huge country, there are so many different areas to visit, that you could spend ages travelling around experiencing it, from the French-speaking area of Quebec in the east (where it may almost seem like a completely different country) to the southern provinces which are more modern and more concentrated, to the mountainous northern parts which are usually blanketed by snow.
Iceland is one of the best gay-friendly countries in the world but is probably one of the least known by people. Icelandic geography, culture and history is extremely rich and interesting if you look into it and travel around the country to learn more and Reykjavik’s Pride event is very popular. The country’s Prime Minister, Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir, is an open lesbian who is legally married to her long-term partner. The couple became one of the first to become legally married (after being in a civil union in 2002) and surely became a pioneer for LGBT rights and politics in not only Iceland, but around the world.
Same-sex marriage has been legal in Spain since 2005, becoming the third country in the world to legalise it. Spain is undoubtedly not only one of the most popular holiday destinations in the world, but also well-known as a hotspot for LGBT travellers, with its big cities having some of the most vibrant and famous gay scenes and hosting some of Europe’s and the world’s biggest Pride events, such Maspalomas in Gran Canaria, Madrid, Barcelona and Tenerife.