Around the world, people are standing up for change and equal rights for all. The acceptance of gay marriage has been spreading globally and has been passed into law in seven countries, including South Africa and Spain. Most EU countries have same-sex civil union laws that give gay couples the same rights as opposite-sex couples in all but name.
In the US, the question of equal marriage rights for gay couples continues to be is a major issue, having been legalized in Connecticut, Massachusetts, Iowa, Vermont and now Maine. The battle over Prop 8 continues in California.
Gay marriage is being hotly debated around the world. The map above will continue to get pinker over the next decade until the issue is resolved globally.
Having recognized the same-sex partnerships, geregistreerd partnerschap, since 1998, including sponsorization of the "spouse" to receive Dutch citizenship, the ever-pragmatic Netherlands finally cut the crap and called a rose a rose. The Netherlands was the first country to legalize same-sex marriage on April 1, 2001.
As the seat of the European Union, Belgium could hardly expect backing for the EU human rights requirements without correcting its own laws and extending marriage rights to same-sex couples. Belgium was the second nation to legalize gay marriage in January 30, 2003.
Despite its strong Catholic ties to Rome, Spain had 66% support of the population in favor of gay marriage. The new Socialist government legalized same-sex marriage on July 3, 2005, making it the third country to do so.
On July 20, 2005, the chilled-out Canadians became the fourth country in the world to legalize same-sex marriage nationwide, having been passed into law province by province. Thousands of US couples crossed the border to get a taste of Canadian justice.
Going from Apartheid to the legalization of same-sex marriage in just over a decade, South Africa serves as a beacon for social progress throughout Africa and the rest of the world. The fifth country in the world to legalize gay marriage on November 3, 2006.
In May 29, 2008, Norway passed a gender-neutral marriage law, giving same-sex couple the right to marry. Norway has had a Civil Partnership Act since 1993 (similar to Great Britain's) that granted most of the same rights as marriage.
As the controversy begun by California's Prop 8 continues to sweep the country, seven other states have passed same-sex marriage laws and many more have legislation in the works. See Gay Marriage in the USA.