by Rex Wockner
International News Briefs
As expected, Portugal’s Parliament passed a bill Jan. 8 to legalize same-sex marriage. The vote was 125-92 with seven abstentions.
President Anibal Cavaco Silva is not expected to veto the bill, but even if he does, it would delay the law only by a few weeks. Should Cavaco Silva sign the bill, the first gay marriages will happen in April.
Socialist Prime Minister Jose Socrates said legalizing same-sex marriage “rights a wrong” and increases freedom and equality.
The bill specifically excludes access to adoption for married same-sex couples.
“This is the main step towards same-sex civil marriage in Portugal, but not the last one,” said correspondent Joao Paulo from PortugalGay.pt. “The president can still delay the implementation of the law.”
The board co-chair of the European Region of ILGA, the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association, said same-sex marriage is rapidly becoming the norm in Europe.
“It is truly a fantastic start of 2010 for LGBT people in Portugal and Europe as a whole,” said Martin K.I. Christensen. “It is clear that a European consensus is fast emerging on marriage equality.”
In addition to signing or vetoing the bill, President Cavaco Silva has a third option, correspondent Paulo said. He could send it to the Constitutional Court because of the adoption exclusion.
The court would then pronounce the bill constitutional or not. If the court said it is constitutional, Parliament would pass it again in the same form. If the court said it is unconstitutional, Parliament likely would pass a bill that legalizes same-sex marriage and opens adoption to married same-sex couples, which neither the president nor the prime minister supports.