The LawsAndFamilies Database

Aspects of legal family formats for same-sex and different-sex couples


Same-sex families are gaining legal recognition. More and more countries are making marriage and partnership available to them. Or attaching (some) rights and benefits to their cohabitation. Just as rights and benefits are being attached to different-sex cohabitation. But laws of many countries continue to treat different types of couples differently. And their children too.

The LawsAndFamilies aims to document, highlight and analyse these developments and diversities. It does so from three perspectives: law, statistics, sociology. The database has three parts:

  • The main component of LawsAndFamilies is an interactive database. It covers 50 years of legal development, on 69 issues, in 21 European countries. This legal database looks at marriage, registered partnership, and cohabitation. For same-sex and different-sex couples.
  • The second component is a collection of statistical data on same-sex marriage and partnership in 12 countries: Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Iceland, Netherlands, Norway, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and United Kingdom.
  • The third component of the database is a sociological analysis of interviews held in Iceland, Italy, France and Spain: 108 people were interviewed about the legal and social recognition of their same-sex families.  

Comparative analysis

For a first comparative analysis of legal and other data in this database, see: K. Waaldijk (ed.) (2017). More and more together: Legal family formats for same-sex and different-sex couples in European countries – Comparative analysis of data in the LawsAndFamilies Database (with contributions by D. Damonzé, M. Digoix, M. Franchi, N. Nikolina, J.I. Pichardo Galán, G. Selmi, M. de Stéfano Barbero, M. Thibeaud, J.A.M. Vela, K. Waaldijk & G. Zago). FamiliesAndSocieties Working Paper 75(2017),


This database has been edited by Kees Waaldijk, Natalie Nikolina, Giuseppe Zago and Daniel Damonzé (Leiden Law School in The Netherlands) and Marie Digoix, Arianna Caporali and Kamel Nait Abdellah (INED in France).

Recommended citation:  K. Waaldijk et al. (eds.), The LawsAndFamilies Database – Aspects of legal family formats for same-sex and different-sex couples, Paris: INED, 2017,


The LawsAndFamilies Database is part of the project FamiliesAndSocieties – Changing families and sustainable societies: Policy contexts and diversity over the life course and across generations coordinated by Stockholm University. Family diversity is an important aspect in this large research project, which launched in February 2013 and continued until 31 January 2017.


The research leading to these results has received funding from the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007-2013) under grant agreement no. 320116 for the research project FamiliesAndSocieties.