(Jan. 13, 2010) On January 8, 2010, the Portuguese Parliament approved a proposal for a law that authorizes persons of the same sex to get married. The proposal was designed to remove the definition stating that marriage is between two people of different sexes from the legislation in force in the country.
After the approval, the proposed law was forwarded to President Anibal Cavaco Silva for his signature and approval. The law was proposed by the Socialist Party and had the support of all the leftist political parties in the country. Initially, a referendum to discuss the issue was proposed, but that plan was later rejected under the argument that the issue was part of the government platform for the general elections of 2009.
If Silva signs the proposal into law, Portugal will join Belgium, Norway, the Netherlands, Spain, and Sweden as a European nation allowing same-sex marriages.
The Prime Minister, José Sócrates, was quoted as saying that the law puts an end to unnecessary suffering and that it is a significant step to assure respect for the essential values of any democratic, open, and tolerant society, which are freedom, equality, and non-discrimination. (Parlamento de Portugal Aprova Projeto de Lei para Permitir Casamento Gay, GLOBO ONLINE, Jan. 8, 2010, available at http://oglobo.globo.com/mundo/mat/2010/01/08/parlamento-de-portugal-apro