Where is same-sex marriage legal?
By Diane Cooke
People fighting for same-sex marriage rights around the world had a huge year in 2017.
Australia, Malta and Germany all legalised same-sex marriage. So too did Austria in December following in Finland's footsteps the previous March.
The Finnish Parliament first passed a citizens’ initiative on same-sex marriage way back in 2014, but it took another two-and-a-half years to become legislation.
The delay was down to complexities in the process required for the legislation to become law, while opponents of equality also staged a plot to derail the plans at the eleventh hour.
The change means that all Nordic countries – Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden – now allow same-sex couples to marry.
In Australia, the move followed a nationwide postal poll in which 61.6% of Australian voters said they were in favour of the change.
There are currently only 25 countries that allow same-sex couples to marry.
The Netherlands were the first to legalise same-sex marriage as early as 2001. The legislation gave same-sex couples the right to marry, divorce, and adopt children.
England and Wales were pretty slow off the mark becoming the first countries in the UK to pass marriage equality in 2014. Scotland followed suit the same year, but in addition gave churches and other religious groups the option to decide whether or not they wanted to service same-sex marriages.
However, 50 years after homosexuality was decriminalised in England and Wales, 72 other countries and territories worldwide continue to criminalise same-sex relationships, including 45 in which sexual relationships between women are outlawed.
There are eight countries in which homosexuality can result in a death penalty, and dozens more in which homosexual acts can result in a prison sentence, according to a report by the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA).
Southern and east Africa, the Middle East and south Asia persist with the most draconian approaches