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Africa: Factbox – State of Same-Sex Marriages Globally As Pope Francis Backs Civil Unions

London — Here are some key facts on the rights of same-sex couples around the world

Pope Francis endorsed civil unions for same-sex couples in a new film released on Wednesday, intensifying the global debate around gay and lesbian relationships, which have no legal recognition in most countries.

The leader of the Catholic Church opposes same-sex marriage, but said in an interview for a new documentary that he backed civil unions to ensure same-sex couples can be legally recognised.

Here are some key facts on the rights of same-sex couples around the world:

– A total of 32 countries recognise some form of civil partnership for same-sex couples.

– The first country to legalise same-sex marriage was the Netherlands in 2001.

– Same-sex marriage is legal in 28 countries: Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Britain, Canada, Colombia, Costa Rica, Denmark, Ecuador, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Luxembourg, Malta, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Uruguay and the United States.

– Gay marriage is hotly contested among many religious groups. Leaders of the United Methodist Church announced proposals to split the church into two amid deep disputes over the issue. – Almost one in three adults globally believe people of the same sex should be allowed to marry, a survey of almost 100,000 people in 65 countries showed in 2016.