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Which Countries in Europe Have Legal Gay Marriage
Legal gay weddings are now possible in many different countries around the world, but Europe in particular has many countries where you can legally exchange vows if you are in a same sex union. Below is a selection of European countries where you can currently have a gay wedding, along with a link to the marriage legalities which are valid for both gay and heterosexual ceremonies.
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1. Denmark. Gay marriage was legalised in 2012 although Denmark had had same sex Registered Partnerships (which were very similar to Civil Partnerships in the UK) since 1989. As it is quite simple to marry in Denmark, and easy to get to, it has become an excellent choice of country to get married abroad and is sometimes called the "Las Vegas of Europe".
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Denmark Marriage Laws
2. Iceland. After legalising gay marriage in 2010 Iceland has become popular gay wedding destination, partly due to its wide choice of spectacular wedding locations. From icy waterfalls to candlelit caves, wild clifftop ceremonies to intimate chapel services, Iceland is a country which makes you feel alive and ready to take on the world.
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Iceland Marriage Laws
3. Finland (Lapland). Finland's marriage laws became gender-neutral in 2017, after years of having a Registered Partnership law, similar to other countries. Although legalising gay marriage in 2017 made Finland the last of the northern European countries to do so, it has proven to be a superb country in which to have a romantic gay ceremony abroad, with a large wedding industry offering ice chapel weddings, ceremony arrivals by reindeer-pulled sleigh and plenty of opportunities to see the Northern Lights.
Finland Marriage Laws
4. Malta. Another country which legalised gay marriage in 2017, Malta is a great country to marry in if you like warm weather year-round. Even in winter it doesn't get partiularly cold, and getting married here is quite straightforward. If you fancy a beach ceremony or wish to have a winter wedding without the cold temperatures then this could be the country for you!
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Malta Marriage Laws
5. Portugal. Same sex marriages become legal in 2010 in Portugal, and as it's much easier in general to marry here than in other Southern European countries, Portugal makes an excellent choice for any kind of wedding abroad. You don't have to be resident here (unlike in neighbouring Spain or France), and there are plenty of wedding professionals in Portugal who can help you with the legalities, and also suggest a beautiful location for you to exchange your vows.
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Portugal Marriage Laws
6. Germany. Germany legalised gay marriage in 2017 so now you can marry in all kinds of beautiful locations, from picturesque castles/schlosses to sophisticated city ceremonies, and everything in between. There are plenty of wedding professionals here who can help you find the ceremony of your dreams.
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Germany Marriage Laws
7. UK. England, Wales and Scotland all legalised gay marriage in 2014, and many thousands of same sex couples have since married there. There are slightly differing marriage requirements in Scotland than in England and Wales, and at the moment gay marriage is not possible in Northern Ireland, but as long as you check the laws in the specific country you wish to marry, the UK has plenty of choice for a stunning ceremony. Unfortunately the paperwork is not overly easy to do if you are not resident, but a non-legal ceremony is perfectly possible with a celebrant and is possible anywhere, unlike a legal ceremony.
UK Marriage Laws
8. Ireland. Gay marriage has been legal in the Republic of Ireland since 2015, with many couples choosing to marry in one of the many stunning locations available for weddings. Irish marriage requirements are quite straighforward so it makes a good choice for a ceremony overseas.
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Ireland Marriage Laws
9. Austria. A recent change in the law has made gay marriage possible in Austria, which is great as it's an easy county to get married in, and also doesn't have many restrictions as to where you can exchange vows. As well as having a huge amount of lakes, mountains and generally just stunning countryside, you can also party til dawn as there are no strict licensing laws to stop you!
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Austria Marriage Laws
10. Norway. In 2009 Norway introduced gender-neutral marriage, and in 2017 this was extended to include Church of Norway ceremonies, so now gay couples can marry in church in Norway and have a religious ceremony if they don't want to have a civil ceremony.
Norway Marriage Laws
11. Sweden. Like Norway, Sweden changed the law in 2009 to be gender-neutral, and the Church of Sweden has also performed same-sex marriages since 2009. There are plenty of different locations to marry in Sweden, from sophisticated city ceremonies in Stockholm, to simple ceremonies in the forest at midsummer. You'll be spoilt for choice!
Sweden Marriage Laws
12. Gibraltar. A recent change in the law has now made same-sex marriage legal in Gibraltar, which is great as Gibraltar legalities are simple, and much easier than neighbouring Spain. Gibraltar may be small but it has some incredible locations for a wedding, including On top of the Rock and the Botanical Gardens.
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Gibraltar Marriage Laws
Countries where you have to be resident in order to legally marry
13. France. Even though France legalised gay marriage in 2013, French law states that a person has to have lived in the region they want to marry in for at least 40 days before they can marry there. Which means that if you are not resident in France you still can't easily legally marry in the country. Many couples do, however, have a non-legal blessing in France but do the legal bit elsewhere.
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France Marriage Laws
14. Spain. Like France, Spain's legal requirements mean that you have to live there for at least two years in order to legally get married, despite having legalised gay marriage in 2005! Again, many couples choose to have a non-legal blessing in Spain and do the legal part at home or in a different country. Which is a shame, as Spain was only the third country in the world to legalise gay marriage.
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Spain Marriage Laws
15. Netherlands. The first country in the world to legalise gay marriage in 2001, the Netherlands requires that anyone wanting to marry there is either Dutch or is resident, which does stop a lot of foreign couples from getting married there. It's a great place for a marriage blessing or a party though!
Netherlands Marriage Laws
16. Belgium. The second country in the world to legalise gay marriage in 2003, Belgium does require that one of you is a Belgian citizen, or that you are resident for at least three months in order to marry there. If you don't meet either of those criteria we'd recommend you have a non-legal blessing in Belgium instead, which is also easier to do as there's no paperwork involved!
Belgium Marriage Laws
17. Luxembourg. Although gay marriage has been legal since 2015, one of you has to be resident in Luxembourg in order to have a legal ceremony. It also has to be a civil ceremony and held at your local Town Hall.
Luxembourg Marriage Laws
So there's our list of the current countries in Europe which have legal gay marriage - there are quite a lot! Other European countries are also considering legalising same sex ceremonies, so this list may well grow in future.
By Marry Abroad