New Zealand lawmakers on Wednesday gave final approval to a same-sex marriage bill, joining a dozen other countries. Here are some questions and answers about gay marriage around the world:
Q: WHAT OTHER COUNTRIES HAVE LEGALIZED GAY MARRIAGE?
A: The Netherlands (2001); Belgium (2003); Spain, Canada (2005); South Africa (2006); Norway (2008); Sweden (2009); Argentina, Iceland, Portugal (2010); Denmark (2012). Lawmakers in Uruguay approved a law last week that President Jose Mujica is expected to sign.
Q: WHERE ELSE IS GAY MARRIAGE ALLOWED?
A: In the United States, a law prevents the federal government from recognizing gay marriage, but nine states have legalized it - Connecticut, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Vermont and Washington - as have the District of Columbia and two Native American tribal jurisdictions. Most other states have approved constitutional amendments barring gay marriage. Mexico City recognizes gay marriage, although Mexico as a whole doesn't.
Q: WHAT ABOUT ADOPTION FOR GAY COUPLES?
A: Gay couples can legally adopt in all of the countries that have legalized gay marriage, plus Brazil and the United Kingdom.
Q: WHAT COUNTRIES CRIMINALIZE HOMOSEXUALITY?
According to a 2011 United Nations report on the human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, same-sex conduct is illegal in 76 countries and punishable by death in at least five of them: Iran, Mauritania, Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Yemen.