Test 2

Please select your preferred language.





Remember Me

New to Fridae?

Fridae Mobile


More About Us

18 May 2010

Portuguese president to ratify same-sex marriage law

Portugal's President Anibal Cavaco Silva has announced he will set aside his "personal convictions" and ratify a law that legalises gay marriage in the predominantly Catholic country, making it the sixth European country to do so.

President Anibal Cavaco Silva of Portugal announced Monday, 17 May 2010, that he will set aside his “personal convictions” and sign into law a bill legalising same-sex marriages. The bill, supported by the Socialist government, had been passed in January this year by the country’s parliament.

President Anibal Cavaco Silva said he would not veto the bill because majority liberal lawmakers would only overturn his decision. The country must focus instead on battling a crippling economic crisis that has increased unemployment and deepened poverty, he said. He added: "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."
Portugal is the sixth European country to legalise same-sex marriage after Belgium, The Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, and Norway.

During a heated debate then, Prime Minister Jose Socrates said the law would put right an injustice that caused unnecessary pain. 

However, rightist parties objected and demanded a referendum. 

After parliamentary passage, the president himself had forwarded the key provisions of the bill last month to the Constitutional Court for an opinion. The court ruled that they were constitutional, leaving the president the choice of either signing the bill into law or vetoing it. 

However, his veto, if he used it, would likely be overturned by parliament. Furthermore, the president said he felt that members of parliament needed to focus on the economic crisis facing the country.

“I feel I should not contribute to a pointless extension of this debate, which would only serve to deepen the divisions,” he explained in his statement.

The law would make Portugal the sixth country in Europe to legalise same-sex marriage, after Belgium, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and Norway. The UK offers a civil partnership with almost all the rights of marriage. 

Last week, Pope Benedict XVI, during his four-day visit of Portugal, called on Portuguese to oppose the new law, saying same-sex marriage and abortion were some of the most “insidious and dangerous” threats facing the world. 

Portugal had legalised abortion in 2007. Although Portugal is overwhelmingly Roman Catholic, it is estimated that only about one in five of the country’s 10.6 million population are practising members of the faith. 

Interestingly, in his speech to the pope on his arrival, President Silva pointedly welcomed Benedict XVI to a “free and plural Portugal” whose people have “a calling to recognise the value of diversity”.

This story was first published on Yawningbread.


Reader's Comments

1. 2010-05-18 23:41  
The fact is that this president has been prolific in fait-divers. He got involved in several conflicts with government since he's been elected, let's just say he didn't care about economic priorities back then (he even claimed he was being victim of spying by government elements). His talk about " other priorities" was just an attempt to please his conservative electorate (that was the biggest argument of conservatives against gay marriage all along) , since Presidential elections are coming soon. This issue had been decided, and it was already over, regardless of what he did. Yet, it's a pleasure watching a conservative conceeding defeat live, on the International Day Against Homophobia.
Comment edited on 2010-05-18 23:42:48
2. 2010-05-19 07:49  
You're wrong, rhyox, in case you don't know: gays are allowed to adopt children for several years already in portugal. So let's tell the full story not to induce people in error. What the same-sex marriage law doesn't provide is for same-sex couples to adopt (as a couple, obviously), since it did not change the adoption provision, but gay singles can and have already - and i repeat, that is public for several years, it's not even an issue. What left-wing parties rightfully claimed is that "better to get the right of marriage right now than delaying it because of an aspect that can be dealt with later, separatelly, avoiding any claims from the constitutional court on a matter not directly involved with marriage that could take long". Tactically speaking, it was a wise step, and it was a major one: It's not a civil union, it is marriage. I'm sure you know it's a big symbolic difference. As for adoption as couples, it involves other issues related to outdated adoption laws that need to be taken care of together, and they will.It makes perfect sense, and it seems masochistic to downplay the important step taken, a rare one world-wide.
As for your last sentence.... You can raise a "modern, loving family" wherever, it's not society that defines one, but how you do things at your own home. I know "modern, loving families" in countries way more conservative than Portugal and any european country. Things are not so black and white.
Comment edited on 2010-05-19 09:40:17

Please log in to use this feature.


Select News Edition

Featured Profiles

Now ALL members can view unlimited profiles!


View this page in a different language:

Like Us on Facebook


 ILGA Asia - Fridae partner for LGBT rights in Asia IGLHRC - Fridae Partner for LGBT rights in Asia