Of course there is Las Vegas. But so far, the US does not recognize same-sex marriage. Only 13 countries so far seem to have recognized the right to conduct same-sex marriage.

If you are not a resident/citizen of one those thirteen countries, is it possible to get married in one of these 13 countries as tourist? Say a same-sex marriage equivalent of Las Vegas.

  • Some U.S. states do allow gay marriage. I don't know the current list, or waiting periods, etc.
    – Flimzy
    Commented May 19, 2013 at 9:24
  • Sometimes your home jurisdiction can try to block you. I heard about this happening with an Australian couple trying to get married overseas, with the Australian government refusing to supply some paperwork related to it.
    – Golden Cuy
    Commented May 23, 2013 at 10:20

5 Answers 5


Here are some of the options I could find out, there might be more:

  • Argentina actually made a point of allowing foreigners to marry specifically when they are gay.
  • Denmark does not seem to have any issues with foreigners getting married there.
  • In Spain however you will have to wait some time for the approval, and better be in Madrid.

Canada allows same sex marriage and I know an Irish resident who came here to be married a few years ago. He stayed less than a week and the whole process was simple and pleasant for them both. Over a year ago, the government announced they would tweak our law specifically to ensure such marriages were recognized properly:

The federal government is working quickly to change the law so that the marriages of the thousands of gay couples who travel to Canada to wed are legally recognized in this country.

“We want to make it very clear that in our government’s view, these marriages should be valid,” a senior government official said on Friday.

“That’s why we will change the Civil Marriage Act so that any marriages performed in Canada that aren’t recognized in the couple’s home jurisdiction will be recognized in Canada.”

The legislative change will apply to all marriages performed in Canada regardless of the laws of the jurisdiction in which the couple live, the official said.

Their motivation was partly to enable these couples to divorce later: we've had equal marriage for over a decade, and some marriages don't last that long. A few couples found they couldn't divorce at home, because home didn't consider them married, and they couldn't divorce here because they weren't residents. That was silly and this is a fix for it.

In 2007, 50% of the same sex marriages in Canada involved two non-residents. I suspect the ratio has fallen a little as couples who waited decades to wed were creating a boom for the first few years, and there are now more places to go if you want to marry. But by all means come here and get married. See Niagara Falls or the Rockies or Peggy's Cove. Plenty of people do.


There is nothing to prevent non-residents to marry in Iowa. You just have to follow the three day waiting period after applying. I'm sure several other US states allow non-residents to marry as well.

The question remains if your home country/state acknowledges the marriage.

Iowa's gay-marriage law sparks tourism


France just passed a law to allow two people of the same sex to marry but it seems difficult to come to France just for that. Generally speaking, in France, you can't choose where you marry, even as a French national living in the country. At least one of the future partners should either have his or her usual residence (domicile) in the town (commune) or stay there for at least a month without interruption. There is also a 10-day waiting period after you announced your intention to marry (publication des bans).

Apparently, there is an exception allowing non-resident to marry in oversea territories which are not départements (i.e. Nouvelle-Calédonie, Polynésie française, Saint-Barthélémy, Saint-Martin, Saint-Pierre-et-Miquelon, Wallis-et-Futuna) but you still have to observe a 1 month and 10 days waiting period (during which I don't think you have to be present, you just need to make sure the announcement is published at the town hall). Polynésie, Saint-Martin and Saint-Barthélémy could be good choices to combine this with a nice holiday.


It's quite easy for two non-residents of the same sex to marry in Canada or the U.S. The specific details of how to obtain a marriage license and how to have a marriage ceremony performed will differ in each Canadian province/territory and each U.S. state (and often county). In general, two non-residents can usually obtain a marriage license after applying either on-line or the same day in person. The requirements for a waiting period and who may perform the ceremony differ. In some Canadian provinces/territories, only an officiant such as a minister can do it, while in others the provincial/territorial clerk will do it. Likewise in U.S. states, state marriage licenses are generally issued by county clerks, some of whom will also perform a ceremony, in some cases the same day, and in others 24 hours or longer afterwards.

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