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Portugal: Gay Marriage Law Approved by Constitutional Tribunal

(Apr. 12, 2010) On April 8, 2010, the Portuguese Constitutional Tribunal confirmed the legitimacy of a law, passed in January 2010 by the Parliament, which modifies the definition of marriage in the new Civil Code. According to the law, marriage no longer needs to be between persons of different sexes.

The court mentioned in its decision that the Constitution does not prohibit the evolution of the marriage institution and that its extension to persons of the same sex does not prohibit the acknowledgment and protection of the family as a fundamental unit of the society. Adoption by homosexuals, however, is still not permitted in Portugal.

The law was sent to the court for review after its constitutionality was questioned by President Anibal Cavaco Silva. With the court's decision, Silva now has 20 days to promulgate the law or veto it. (Corte de Portugal Dá Sinal Verde para Casamento Gay; Presidente Tem que Aprovar Lei, O GLOBO, Apr. 8, 2010, available at