Portuguese parliament passes gay marriage law

Gay rights advocates in Portugal are toasting the future, after parliament voted to legalise same sex marriage. But it was a bittersweet victory, as Portuguese MPs rejected proposals to allow adoption by gay couples.

It’s seen as a landmark decision nevertheless, which Prime Minister José Socrates said was important to modernising the country.

“This law corresponds in the best way to the spirit and the words of the Constitution,” he said. “With this law we’ll be respecting individual freedoms, promoting the equality of all citizens and eliminating discrimination.”

Despite disappointment on the adoption vote, campaigners are seeing it as a temporary setback. They are determined to build on today’s success, which they say sets a clear example to others.

But not everyone is happy in this staunchly Catholic country, which only legalised abortion two years ago.

Although the legislation now has to be ratified by Portugal’s conservative president, its passage into law is all but enshrined.


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