DESPITE STRONG PROTESTS and threats of legal challenges, France became the 14th country in the world to legalise same-sex marriage today.
Here are the 13 countries which already have similar laws:
Just last week, the House of Representatives in New Zealand voted to legalise same-sex marriage, becoming the first country in the Asia-Pacific region to do so.
The move was met with rapture by people watching in the gallery of the House of Representatives who burst into spontaneous song. Some lawmakers even joined in for the rendition of traditional Maori love song, Pokarekare Ana.
Gay pride flag in Amsterdam (Image: Shutterstock)
On 1 April 2001, the Netherlands became the first country in the world to legalise same-sex marriage, giving gay couples the same rights as heterosexuals, including the right to adopt.
Same-sex couples won the right to marry in 2003 and in 2006, parliament voted into law a bill allowing homosexual couples to adopt children.
Two men embrace each other during a big street rally organised by gay and lesbian groups in Madrid on 2 July 2005 to celebrate passage of the law legalising gay marriage in Spain. (AP Photo/Jasper Juinen)
In 2005, Spain became the third member of the European Union to pass a law allowing same-sex marriages. Gay couples can adopt children, whether they are married or not.
Senator Romeo Dallaire leaves Parliament Hill in Ottawa on 19 July 2005 after the Senate passed Bill C-38 on same sex marriage. (AP Photo/Jonathan Hayward)
A 2005 bill in Canada granted same-sex couples legal rights equal to those in traditional unions between a man and a woman. Most provinces across the country already had same-sex unions before 19 July.
(AP Photo/Denis Farrell)
The country legalised same-sex unions and adoptions by gay couples in November 2006, becoming the first African nation to do so. Lesbian couple Bathini Dambuza snd Lindiwe Radebe (pictured above) show off their engagement rings as they pose for a photograph on Constitution Hill in Johannesburg on 14 November 2006. They had been engaged for about a year and wanted to take their relationship to the next level.
Civil partnerships existed in Norway for about 20 years before a 2009 law legalised marriage and adoption for gay couples.
Stockholm’s gay pride parade. (Image: Shutterstock)
Same-sex marriages were introduced in Sweden in May 2009.
Helena Paixao embraces Teresa Pires after getting married at a civil registry office on 7 June 2010 in Lisbon. Teresa and Helena, divorced mothers in their 30s who have been together since 2003, are the first same-sex couple to wed in Portugal since the predominantly Catholic country introduced a law allowing gay marriage. (AP Photo/ Francisco Seco)
Under a 2010 law, Portugal legalised same-sex marriage but adoption by gay couples is prohibited.
Prime Minister Johanna Sigurdardottir (pictured) married her long-time partner, writer Jonina Leosdottir, in June 2010 on the day a new law legalising homosexual marriages came into force. Same-sex couples who have lived together for at least five years have had the right to adopt children since 2006.
Supporters of same sex marriage hold a heart as they pose in front of Buenos Aires’ obelisk early 15 July 2010 after Argentina legalized same-sex marriage. (AP Photo/Rolando Andrade Stracuzzi)
Senators voted to approve a law allowing same-sex marriage on 14 July 2010, making Argentina the first in Latin America to grant same-sex marriages all the rights of heterosexual unions.
Ernesto Rodriguez Larrese and Alejandro Vanelli kiss each other after getting married in Buenos Aires, Argentina on 30 July 2010. Larrese and Vanelli are the first gay couple to get married at the Argentine capital after President Cristina Fernandez signed the new law on 21 July. (AP Photo/ Natacha Pisarenko)
Copenhagen pride (Image: PlanetStar/Flickr)
Denmark, the first country in the world to allow gay couples to enter into civil unions in 1989, voted overwhelmingly in favour of allowing homosexuals to marry in the state Evangelical Lutheran Church in June 2012.
An activist wearing gay pride colors stands outside Parliament where lawmakers are debating a same sex marriage law in Montevideo, Uruguay, 11 December 2012. (AP Photo/Matilde Campodonico)
Uruguay voted this month to allow same-sex marriages nationwide, making it only the second Latin American country to do so.
-Additional reporting by AFP