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FACTBOX-State of same-sex unions globally as Pope Francis gives backing

Pope Francis endorsed civil unions for same-sex couples in a new film released on Wednesday, intensifying the global debate around gay and lesbian relationships, which have no legal recognition in most countries.

Reuters | London | Updated: 22-10-2020 00:08 IST | Created: 21-10-2020 23:04 IST
FACTBOX-State of same-sex unions globally as Pope Francis gives backing
Representative image. Image Credit: Wikimedia

Pope Francis endorsed civil unions for same-sex couples in a new film released on Wednesday, intensifying the global debate around gay and lesbian relationships, which have no legal recognition in most countries. The leader of the Catholic Church opposes same-sex marriage, but said in an interview for a new documentary that he backed civil unions to ensure same-sex couples can be legally recognised.

Here are some key facts on the rights of same-sex couples around the world: - A total of 32 countries recognise some form of civil partnership for same-sex couples. - The first country to legalise same-sex marriage was the Netherlands in 2001.

- Same-sex marriage is legal in 28 countries: Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Britain, Canada, Colombia, Costa Rica, Denmark, Ecuador, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Luxembourg, Malta, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Uruguay and the United States. - Gay marriage is hotly contested among many religious groups. Leaders of the United Methodist Church announced proposals to split the church into two amid deep disputes over the issue. - Almost one in three adults globally believe people of the same sex should be allowed to marry, a survey of almost 100,000 people in 65 countries showed in 2016.

- Taiwan was the first place in Asia to allow gay marriages. Drives for that right to be granted in China and Japan have faced stiff opposition. - In Africa, where homosexuality is a crime in many countries and can lead to imprisonment or the death penalty, South Africa alone allows for same-sex marriage. - Costa Rica became the first country in Central America to give the go-ahead to same-sex marriages in May, when a landmark constitutional court ruling came into effect. - In July Montenegro became the first European country outside western Europe and the European Union to legally recognise same-sex couples. - Northern Ireland became the last part of the United Kingdom to introduce equal marriage rights in February 2020. Sources: ILGA State-Sponsored Homophobia report, Pew Research Centre, Thomson Reuters Foundation, Reuters


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