Gay marriage in Lisbon -

Gay marriage in Lisbon

Portugal becomes sixth European nation to legalize same-sex unions


Portugal’s conservative president Anibal Cavaco Silva announced Monday he is reluctantly ratifying a law allowing gay marriage in the predominantly Catholic country, making it the sixth European nation to do so, after Belgium, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and Norway. Five U.S. states and the District of Columbia have legalized same-sex marriage, as have Canada and South Africa. The Portuguese president said in a nationally televised address he regretted that the country’s political parties had failed to reach a compromise during days of heated debate in Parliament four months ago. Vetoing the bill would only send it back to Parliament where lawmakers would overturn his decision, he said, adding that the country needed to focus on overcoming an economic crisis that has increased unemployment and deepened poverty. Gay rights advocates have said they will continue to fight for gay couples’ parental rights, including adoption, which are not included in the law. Portugal lifted a prohibition on homosexuality in the early 1980s. In 2001, it passed a law allowing “civil unions” between same-sex couples, which granted couples certain legal, tax and property rights. However, it did not allow couples to take a partner’s name, nor inherit his or her possessions or state pension.

Associated Press

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