ArrowStudio, LLC , Shutterstock Legal marriage may be a boon for the health of same-sex couples, according to new research that finds cohabitating doesn't provide the same health benefits for gay couples that marriage does for straights. The new law, which was passed in , replaced a law permitting civil unions. In other words, same-sex couples who cohabitate are better off economically than opposite-sex couples who chose to live together unmarried, and their extra health benefits stem from that economic security. This was the case in both Iran, where a strong Muslim theocracy had criminalized same-sex intimacy, and Denmark , where the findings of a conference of Evangelical Lutheran bishops representing the state religion had helped smooth the way for the first national recognition of same-sex relationships through registered partnerships. Same-sex marriage around the world The table provides a list of countries that have legalized same-sex marriage, as well as selected countries that offer some other legal status for same-sex couples. Together, they involve a dozen couples who challenged same-sex marriage bans in Ohio, Michigan, Kentucky and Tennessee — the only states with bans on marriage between gay and lesbian couples that had been sustained by a federal appeals court. Uruguay is among the most secular countries in Latin America. Where marriage delivers rights based on a couple's promises to one another, registered relationships still require proof a relationship meeting the criteria already exists. In Uruguay became the first Latin American country to legalize same-sex civil unions nationwide; the legislation became effective the following year. In Canada became the first country outside Europe to pass legislation legalizing same-sex marriage. These data have demonstrated no risk to children as a result of growing up in a family with 1 or more gay parents.