Britain legalized gay marriage on July 17, 2013, after Queen Elizabeth II gave her royal stamp of approval, clearing the way for the first same-sex weddings next summer.
The law enables gay couples to get married in both civil and religious ceremonies in England and Wales, although the Church of England is barred from conducting same-sex unions. It also will allow couples who had previously entered into civil partnerships
France has legalized same-sex marriage in May 2013. In this photo, Vincent Autin (L) and Bruno Boileau kiss during their marriage ceremony, France's first official gay marriage, at city hall in Montpellier, May 29, 2013.
Read more: France legalizes same-sex marriage after harsh debate
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A float supporting gay marriage moves down Ponsonby Road during the Pride parade in Auckland, New Zealand, Feb. 16, 2013. New Zealand legalized same-sex marriage nationwide on April 17, 2013.
Read more: Same-sex marriage legalized in New Zealand
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In 2001, The Netherlands became the first country in the world to legalize same-sex marriage.
In this photo Jan van Breda (left) and his partner Thijs Timmermans cut the cake after their wedding in Amsterdam, April 1, 2011.
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In 2003, Belgium became the second country to legalize same-sex marriage.
In this photo, Marion Huibrecht and Christel Verswyvelen celebrate their marriage in Antwerp, Belgium, June 6, 2003. Huibrecht and Verswyvelen became the first same-sex couple to marry in Belgium, celebrating 16 years of official partnership with wedding vows during their civil ceremony.
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In 2005, Canada became the third country to legalize same-sex marriage and remains the only North American country to have done so. Same-sex marriages were already legal in seven Canadian provinces prior to the nationwide legislation.
In this photo, Ric Reed and Ernest Lacasse show off their wedding rings after their marriage ceremony at the Metropolitan Community Church of Toronto, June 28, 2003.
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This largely Roman Catholic nation legalized same-sex marriage in 2005.
In this photo, Carlos Patino (left) and Ramon Linaza kiss after getting married in Madrid, Nov. 30, 2005.
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Argentina became the first Latin American country to legalize same-sex marriage in 2010.
In this photo, Couple Alejandro Freyre (left) and Jose Maria Di Bello walk near the Congress building during a demonstration supporting a same-sex marriage bill in Buenos Aires, July 14, 2010.
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South Africa became the first African country to legalize same-sex marriage in 2006 and remains the only nation on the continent to have done so.
In this photo, a gay woman shows off a shirt with the slogan "Equal marriage for all, nothing less" at a debate on the civil union bill in Soweto, outside Johannesburg, Sept. 20, 2006.
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Same-sex marriage was legalized in Iceland in 2010. Shortly thereafter, the country's Prime Minister Johanna Sigurdardottir, seen here in 2009, married her long-time partner. Sigurdardottir is the first openly gay head of state in the world.
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Denmark was the first country in the world to allow same-sex civil unions in 1989, but marriage was not legalized until 2012.
In this photo, Stig Ellins (left) and his partner Steen Andersen pose with a rose after their wedding at Frederiksberg church in Copenhagen, June 15, 2012.
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Norway's same-sex marriage law, passed in 2008, includes legislation that allows gay couples to adopt children and lesbian women to be artificially inseminated.
In this photo, Norwegian finance minister and chairwoman of the Socialist Left party Kristin Halvorsen stands next to wedding figurines outside the House of Parliament in Oslo, June 11, 2008, where she celebrated the passing of a new law awarding equal rights to same-sex partnerships as those enjoyed by heterosexual marriages.
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Despite strong protests in this majority-Catholic nation, Portugal legalized same-sex marriage in 2010.
In this picture, gay activists celebrate with champagne in front of the Portuguese parliament in Lisbon, Jan. 8, 2010, after the approval of a bill to legalize same-sex marriages less than 30 years after the country revoked its ban on homosexuality.
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Same sex-marriage was legalized in Sweden in 2009, building upon existing "registered partnership" laws that permitted same-sex unions in the country since 1995.
In this photo, Yvette Ramirez and Christina Branting wed in a registered partnership ceremony at Oscar Fredriks church in Gothemburg, Sweden, June 30, 2001.
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Lawmakers in Uruguay approved a same-sex marriage law in early April, 2013 that President Jose Mujica is expected to sign.
In this photo, protestors walk alongside soldiers carrying the Uruguayan flag, as Uruguayan legislature discussed the "Equal Marriage" law, in Montevideo, April 10, 2013.
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