Marriage Equality USA

Stay Informed

International Laws

Updated 26 July 2015

(NOTE: Click on country for info for Greenland and Central America.)


Same-sex sexual activity is legal, but there is no legal recognition of same-sex relationships.

Blackfoot Tribe (Montana, U.S.)

The Blackfeet Indian Reservation of Montana Tribe Law and Order Code: Chapter 3 - Domestic Relations specifies that state law and state jurisdiction governs marriage relations and that neither common-law nor marriages performed under native customs are valid within the Blackfoot Reservation. In 2014, the Montana state ban on same-sex marriage was struck down and therefore marriage equality was legalized for the state and the tribe. The first same-sex native marriage ceremony was performed for a two-spirit couple in December 2007.


On 20 July 2005 the Canadian Parliament passed the Civil Marriage Act, defining marriage nationwide as "the lawful union of two persons to the exclusion of all others."

Canada does not have a residency requirement for marriage; consequently, many foreign couples have gone to Canada to marry, regardless of whether that marriage will be recognized in their home country. In fact, in some cases, a Canadian marriage has provided the basis for a challenge to the laws of another country.

As of 11 November 2004 the Canadian federal government's immigration department, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC), considers same-sex marriages performed in Canada valid for the purposes of sponsoring a spouse to immigrate. Canadian immigration authorities previously considered long-term, same-sex relationships to be equivalent to similar heterosexual relationships as grounds for sponsorship.

Cherokee Nation

After a Cherokee lesbian couple applied for a marriage license, the Cherokee Nation Tribal Council unanimously approved a Constitutional amendment in 2004 defining marriage as between one man and one woman. The couple appealed to the judicial court on grounds that their union predated the amendment, and on 22 December 2005 the Judicial Appeals Tribunal of the Cherokee Nation dismissed an injunction against the lesbian couple filed by members of the Tribal Council to stop the marriage. As of this time same-sex marriages remain illegal within the Cherokee Nation.

Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes (Oklahoma, U.S.)

Same-sex marriage legal with no change to existing tribal marriage laws - licenses being issued by 2013.

Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation (Washington, U.S.)

Same-sex marriage legal since 2013.

Coquille Nation (Oregon, U.S.)

In 2008, the Native American Coquille Nation passed a law recognizing same-sex marriage; it is believed to be the first tribal nation to do so. Although Oregon voters approved an amendment to the Oregon Constitution in 2004 to prohibit such marriages, the Coquille are not bound by the Oregon Constitution, because they are a federally recognized sovereign nation.

Haida Tribe (Alaska, U.S.) - see Tlingit below

Keweenaw Bay Indian Community of the Lake Superior Bands of Chippewa Indians (Michigan, U.S.)

Same-sex marriage legal since June 2015.

Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe (Minnesota, U.S.)

Same-sex marriage legal, same-sex marriages being performed since 2013.

Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians (Michigan, U.S.)

On 15 March 2013 a statute was signed into law recognizing same-sex marriages on the tribe's reservation - the tribe is a federally recognized Native American nation in Michigan.

Mashantucket Pequot Tribe (Connecticut, U.S.)

Same-sex marriage legal since at least 2011.


In Mexico, same-sex marriage is legal in four states (Chihuahua, Coahuila, Guerrero and Quintana Roo); in Mexico City, a federal district; and in the city of Santiago de Querétaro, capital of Querétaro state. Same-sex couples can marry in the other 27 states as well, but only after getting an injunction (amparo) against the civil registry from a judge. That requires a lawyer, the equivalent of around US$1,000 and about a month of time. A June 3, 2015, ruling by Mexico's Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation requires judges to grant the injunctions. Activists are rapidly implementing a court-based legal strategy, state by state, that will force the 27 states, one by one, to clear the way for same-sex marriages without couples having to get a special order from a judge. It involves getting five injunctions per state from a federal appeals court or the federal Supreme Court, to create "jurisprudence" on same-sex marriage in that state, which can then be used to force the state legislature to let same-sex couples marry the normal way. In the meantime, some states likely will throw in the towel legislatively prior to being forced -- and before that, some states will simply stop enforcing their ban on same-sex marriage administratively, as is the case now in Chihuahua and Guerrero. -rw

For consistent, accurate coverage of the situation in Mexico, we recommend following Rex Wockner on Twitter:

Navajo Nation (New Mexico, U.S.)

The 2005 tribal law, the Dine Marriage Act, prohibits same-sex unions on the reservation.
21 February 2015, Among the Navajos, a Renewed Debate About Gay Marriage - By Julie Turkewitz, New York Times

Oneida Tribe (Wisconsin, U.S.)

It was announced on 28 May 2015 that the Oneida Tribe’s Business Committee unanimously accepted amendments to the marriage law, removing a requirement that adults must be the opposite sex and replacing the phrase “husband and wife” with “spouses” - effective 10 June 2015.

Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians

Same-sex marriage legal since 2013.

Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe (Washington, U.S.)

Same-sex marriage legal since 2012.

Puyallup Tribe (Washington, U.S.)

Same-sex marriage legal since 2014.

San Carlos Apache Tribe (Arizona, U.S.)

Tribal law reads that all marriages shall be in accordance with AZ state law - in 2014 the AZ ban on same-sex marriage was declared unconstitutional, so same-sex marriages are legal.

Santa Ysabel Tribe (California, U.S.)

Same-sex marriage legal since 2013.


On 1 August 2011 the Squamish Tribal Council formally changed its ordinances to extend marriage rights to same-sex couples.

Tlingit and Haida Tribes (Alaska, U.S.)

On 20 February 2015, the Tlingit and Haida Tribal Council adopted a statute that allows same-sex couples to marry under tribal law.

United States

View our National Maps for information regarding lawsuits, ballot measures and legislation currently occurring in the United States as well as the status of marriage equality in the U.S. state-by-state.

Wind River Indian Reservation (Wyoming, U.S.)

Same-sex marriage legal since 2014.