Welcome to DoSomething.org, a global movement of 6 million young people making positive change, online and off! The 11 facts you want are below, and the sources for the facts are at the very bottom of the page. After you learn something, Do Something! Find out how to take action here.

  1. The Netherlands became the first country to legalize same-sex marriage in 2001.
  2. As of 2014, 13 more countries have legalized same-sex marriage. South Africa, Belgium, Denmark, Sweden, Canada, and Spain are a few of these countries. Massachusetts was the first US state to legalize same-sex marriage in 2004.
  3. As of 2014, 20 states have followed: Iowa, Vermont, Maine, New York, Connecticut, Washington, Maryland, New Hampshire, Oregon, California, New Mexico, Minnesota, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Hawaii, Rhode Island, Delaware, Pennsylvania, and Washington D.C.
  4. In 2012, President Obama made US History when he told ABC News, “I think same-sex couples should be able to get married. Ask your friends and other social influencers to show their support for LGBTQ rights. Sign up for Love It Forward.
  5. Alaska and Hawaii were the first states to legally ban same-sex marriage in 1998.

Ask social influencers to publicly support LGBTQ rights.

  1. 16 states ban same-sex marriage, some by constitutional amendment, some by law, and the majority by both.
  2. 7 states provide some, if not all, spousal rights to unmarried couples in domestic partnerships, including California, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, Hawaii, Maine, and Wisconsin.
  3. As of 2014, 55% of Americans believe same-sex marriage should be legal.
  4. In 2013, the Supreme Court struck down parts of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) (which defined marriage as a union between man and woman) and declared that the federal government would recognize same-sex marriages as legal.
  5. In many countries such as Sudan, Iran, and Saudi Arabia, gay people can be punished with the death penalty.
  6. Though same-sex marriage wasn't legal until the 2000s, same-sex couples were getting married on TV shows in the 1990s. The sitcom “Roseanne” featured a same-sex marriage in 1995 while “Friends” featured a lesbian wedding in 1996.


  • 1

    "same-sex marriage around the world." BBC News. http://www.bbc.com/news/world-21321731 (accessed July 26, 2014).

  • 2

    BBC News. "Same-sex marriage around the world." BBC News. http://www.bbc.com/news/world-21321731 (accessed March 10, 2015).

  • 3

    Cable News Network. "Same-sex couples ready to make history in Massachusetts." CNN. http://www.cnn.com/2004/LAW/05/17/mass.gay.marriage/ (accessed July 29, 2014).

  • 4

    ABC News Network. "PM Note – ABC Exclusive – Obama Supports Same Sex Marriage, a 16 Year Evolution, A One Issue News Cycle." ABC News. http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2012/05/pm-note-abc-exclusive-obama-supports-gay-marriage-a-16-year-evolution-a-one-issue-news-cycle/ (accessed July 29, 2014).

  • 5

    "same-sex marriage Timeline." Pew Research Centers Religion Public Life Project RSS. http://www.pewforum.org/2008/04/01/gay-marriage-timeline/ (accessed July 29, 2014).

  • 6

    Cable News Network. "Map: Same-sex marriage in the United States." CNN. http://www.cnn.com/interactive/us/map-same-sex-marriage/ (accessed March 10, 2015).

  • 7

    "Civil Unions & Domestic Partnership Statutes." Civil Unions and Domestic Partnership Statutes. http://www.ncsl.org/research/human-services/civil-unions-and-domestic-partnership-statutes.aspx (accessed July 29, 2014).

  • 8

    Roberts, Caitlin. "By the numbers: Same-sex marriage." CNN. http://www.cnn.com/2012/05/11/politics/btn-same-sex-marriage/ (accessed July 28, 2014).

  • 9

    The Washington Post. "Supreme Court strikes down key part of Defense of Marriage Act." Washington Post. http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/supreme-court/2013/06/26/f0039814-d9ab-11e2-a016-92547bf094cc_story.html (accessed July 29, 2014).

  • 10

    "Where is it illegal to be gay?." BBC News. http://www.bbc.com/news/world-25927595 (accessed July 29, 2014).

  • 11

    Ten TV Shows That Helped Shape National Attitudes on Same-Sex Couples and Marriage Equality." GLAAD. http://www.glaad.org/blog/ten-tv-shows-helped-shape-national-attitudes-same-sex-couples-and-marriage-equality (accessed July 29, 2014).

Ask social influencers to publicly support LGBTQ rights.