A new study reveals that some one billion people now live in a place where same-sex couples are legally eligible to wed.
According to Tony Pitman, Melboure-based gay rights activist, the ruling that tipped scales into the billions belongs to Colombia’s high court, who legalized same-sex marriage nationwide in late April of this year.
“The turning point came a few weeks ago when Colombia and then several Mexican states all achieved marriage equality within a few days,” Pitman told Gay Star News. “That pushed us up over a billion for the first time in history.”
At time of press, Europe hails victorious as the continent with the most countries to have same-sex marriage rights, followed by South America with five countries, and North America with two. Africa rounds out the list with only one country: South Africa.
“When you think that the first ever same-sex marriages took place in the Netherlands in 2001, that means we’ve gone from zero to a billion in just 15 years. That’s an extraordinary rate of social progress,” writes Pitman. “We’re witnessing an historic shift on a truly global scale.”
With a global population of some 7.4 billion, that adds up to about 13.8% of people living in places with full rights and protections under marriage equality statutes. As gay marriage took center stage in Australia’s recent elections, we can only hope that the nation’s 23.1 million will be the next to join this growing roster, through referendum or legislative reform.