Animated global map of same sex marriage.

Sadly, the blog from where it originated is gone. From the Nerd Up North:

Gay rights by jurisdiction: Civil Union (light blue), Equal Marriage (dark blue). Jurisdictions are highlighted (bright blue) in the first year of marriage equality

Here we have the first version of another animated map, this one showing marriage rights around the world. It begins in 2000 for no particular reason, other than perhaps to show which countries allowed civil unions before the first to confer marriage equality (the Netherlands, in 2001). It's noteworthy that Canada and France, among others, only began offering civil unions to gay couples in 1999.

Of course this is an imperfect map -- Argentina, for example, allowed civil unions in one state prior to marriage equality in 2010, as well as in three cities. Obviously I've chosen not to attempt to include municipal recognition of same-sex relationships as those tend to pre-date national or sub-national recognition by leaps and bounds. Australia, on the other hand, offers many of the same benefits in the states that don't allow civil unions as those that do -- it is often the case that civil unions don't confer some or even most of the rights that actual marriage provides. In Canada prior to 2005 each province had different criteria for recognizing common-law partnerships and conferred a different set of rights, even though it was a federal court ruling that began the process.

Gay rights remain controversial even in Canada, where even if it seems like the fight was over a long time ago, most of the country hasn't enjoyed marriage equality for a full decade, and LGBT people are not as of yet explicitly protected by our constitution or human rights legislation. But as this map shows, the fight for LGBT rights has marched inexorably forward, at least throughout the western world. Within the next few years, Israel or Nepal may become the first Asian nations to grant marriage equality rights, and with groundbreaking victories in Latin America in just the last three years, the tide has not only turned but accelerated; 2013 has been the biggest year for marriage equality so far.

It is interesting to compare the progression of gay rights in the countries broken down into their states and provinces on this map. Brazil and Canada saw court decisions and laws rapidly bring each from no recognition to full marriage equality within a matter of years. The United States and Australia, on the other hand, seem to make very little progression each year -- but progression nonetheless.

Of course, this map doesn't indicate the many countries where it's illegal to be gay, a handful of which even carry out the death penalty for any degree of sexual activity between members of the same sex. And there are countries where gay rights have taken major steps backwards in recent years too -- this year, Russia passed a law limiting freedom of expression and association for LGBT citizens and non-citizens alike. In fact, the Canadian government advises its LGBT citizens not to travel to Russia except for urgent business, as advocating for the advancement of gay rights or even showing PDA can now land a tourist in a Russian jail.