A new study shows that approximately one billion people now live in a place where same-sex couples can get married legally.
Conducted by Melbourne-based LGBT rights activist Tony Pitman, the research reveals that the historic tipping point came around the time when Colombia legalised same-sex marriage a few months back.
‘The turning point came a few weeks ago when Colombia and then several Mexican states all achieved marriage equality within a few days,’ said Pitman in a statement to Gay Star News. ‘That pushed us up over a billion for the first time in history.’
In summary, Europe is the continent with the most countries to have same-sex marriage, followed by South America on five and North America on two. South Africa is the only country in Africa to have equal marriage.
‘When you think that the first ever same-sex marriages took place in the Netherlands in 2001, that means we’ve gone from zero to a billion in just 15 years. That’s an extraordinary rate of social progress,’ remarked Pitman. ‘We’re witnessing an historic shift on a truly global scale.’
Yes, it all started 15 years ago in the Netherlands. Soon after in 2003, Belgium joined in to become the world’s second to let gay couples get hitched.
Other countries in the region that followed the Dutch’s lead include Norway (2009), Sweden (2009), Iceland (2010), Denmark (2012), France (2013) and Luxembourg (2015).
Across the Atlantic Ocean, Argentina became the first country in Latin America to legalise same-sex marriage in 2010. Three years later, both Brazil and Uruguay passed marriage equality laws.
With the world population estimated to be around 7.33 billion, the total number of people living with marriage equality today makes up around 13.8%.
By sheer numbers, the U.S. has the largest human population (328 million), followed by Brazil (206 million) and France (66.5 million).
In Mexico, only a number of states have legalised same-sex marriage, with large parts of the country still going without, though its president, Enrique Pena Nieto, announced recently that he seeks to make same-sex marriage a reality all through the country.
Similar in the UK, all except for Northern Ireland recognises same-sex marriage.
It’s also believed that the count could rise further before the end of 2016, if countries such as Australia say yes to marriage equality.
‘It’s terribly disappointing that Australians will never be able to say that we were among the first billion people in the world to achieve marriage equality,’ Pitman commented. ‘That’s a sad historical fact now and an indictment of our spineless, dithering politicians.’
And referring to the tragedy that struck Orlando last month, Pitman said that he hopes that the news of this historic milestone would ‘bring some comfort and encouragement’ to the worldwide community that’s still in shock and mourning.
(Courtesy of Tony Pitman)