Lesbian couple 1st to marry in Portugal

Helena Paixao, left, and Teresa Pires
Helena Paixao, left, and Teresa Pires (Associated Press)

Teresa Pires and Helena Paixao finally saw years of effort pay off when theY recently became the first same-sex couple to be legally married in Portugal.

The two women, who both have children from previous hetero marriages, have been together as a couple since 2003. And they have been campaigning for years to get the Portuguese government to legally recognize gay marriages.

The two tried to get a marriage license back in 2006, after they had been living together about three years. When that effort was blocked, they vowed to fight the gay marriage ban in court on the basis that it violated the Portuguese Constitution’s prohibition of discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

Officials in the country’s Socialist government said at the time that they had no intention of legalizing same-sex marriage.

But the Parliament passed the law legalizing gay marriage in January of this year, and Prtesident Anabel Cavaco Silva ratified it in May, making Portugal the sixth European nation to legalize gay marriage.

—  admin

Portuguese prez signs gay marriage into law

The Associated Press is reporting that Portugal’s conservative President Anibal Cavaco Silva has said he will sign a bill legalizing same-sex marriage in that country, and some sources are saying the bill has been signed.

Silva’s signature brings to eight the number of countries that have legalized same-sex marriage, plus Mexico City, Washington, D.C. and five U.S. states (Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Iowa and Vermont).

According to AP, Silva said he was “setting aside personal convictions” to sign the bill into law, but that he knows if he vetoed it, it would go back to Parliament where lawmakers would vote to override the veto.

He said: “”Given that fact, I feel I should not contribute to a pointless extension of this debate, which would only serve to deepen the divisions between the Portuguese and divert the attention of politicians away from the grave problems affecting us.”

Read the AP story here for more information.

—  admin

Portugal passes same-sex marriage

President Anibal Cavaco Silva
President Anibal Cavaco Silva

On the heels of the defeat of marriage equality in New Jersey, Portugal’s Parliament passed same-sex marriage by a 125-99 vote. The bill simply removes language from the law that currently says marriage is between two people of different sexes. The new law will say marriage is between two people.

The conservative president, Anibal Cavaco Silva, is not likely to veto the bill. If he does sign it, marriage should become legal in the country by April. Belgium, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain and Sweden are the other European countries with marriage equality.

Homosexuality was a crime in Portugal until 1982. The country has had civil unions since 2001.

—  David Taffet

Portugal may become latest country with same-sex marriage

Map of Portugal
Map of Portugal

Portugal’s Parliament is expected to approved same-sex marriage on Friday. If passed, it needs to pass another reading before becoming law. That is expected just in time for the Pope’s May visit to the country.

That country is traditionally one of Europe’s most conservative, but is currently ruled by a Socialist-led coalition. But in contrast to Spain, where same-sex marriage passed over the objection of the Catholic Church and other conservatives, the new law is expected to pass Portugal’s parliament without much debate.

Conservatives have said they favor civil unions with all the rights of marriage except adoption.

Portugal elected its first openly gay lawmaker in September.

—  David Taffet