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Portugal Parliament Passes Same-Sex Marriage Legislation

Portugal’s Parliament passed a bill yesterday to legalize same-sex marriage in the country. Portugal lifted a ban on homosexuality less than three decades ago. The bill must be signed by President Anibal Cavaco Silva to become law. Under the new law, same-sex couples would still not be able legally adopt children. If President Silva vetoes the bill, it will only delay final approval of the law, as another vote in Parliament could override the veto, according to the Vancouver Sun. If Silva does approve the bill, it will be enacted a month before the expected visit of Pope Benedict XVI in May. The pope strongly opposes gay marriage. The conservative party previously sought a national referendum after collecting 90,000 signatures opposing the bill, but the referendum petition was rejected, reported the BBC. If the bill is signed into law or if there is a legislative override of a presidential veto, Portugal will become the sixth European country to legalize same-sex marriage, following in the steps of Belgium, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, and Norway. Many other nations allow same-sex civil unions.

Sources:

Vancouver Sun, 2/11/2010; BBC News 1/8/2010