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Time line: international marriage.

1989: Denmark passes the first national civil union law, providing limited partner rights to same-sex couples.

1994: Israel becomes the first Middle Eastern country to provide limited rights to same-sex couples.

1999: South Africa becomes the first African nation to provide legal recognition for gay couples, paving the way for a later civil union law.

2001: Amsterdam's mayor officiates the first four marriages for gay couples as the world's first fully equal same-sex marriage law goes into effect in the Netherlands.

2003: Belgian lawmakers approve marriage rights for same-sex couples but do not allow them to adopt children. Croatia becomes the first Eastern European country to allow same-sex couples some rights.

2004: Though his statement has no legal impact, Cambodian king Norodom Sihanouk endorses same-sex marriage after seeing gay couples wed in San Francisco. The United Kingdom passes the Civil Partnership Act. New Zealand's parliament passes a civil union law.

2005: The Spanish parliament makes Spain the third country after the Netherlands and Belgium to extend marriage rights to gay couples. Soon after, Canada formalizes that nation's legalization of same-sex marriage.
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Article Details
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Author:Romesburg, Don
Publication:The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:4E
Date:Dec 6, 2005
Previous Article:No sense of decency.
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