Portugal Marriage Equality Bill Likely to Pass

Protugal may soon be the sixth European country with marriage equality, as the government has drawn up a bill, the AP reports:

Portugal "The law is almost certain to pass, as the center-left Socialist government has the support of all left-of-center parties, who together have a majority in Parliament. Right-of-center parties oppose the measure.

The proposal changes Portuguese law to remove references to marriage being between two people of different sexes, Cabinet Minister Pedro Silva Pereira told a news conference Thursday, adding the government will send its proposal to lawmakers for a debate, probably in January.

If approved by Parliament, the proposed law goes to Portugal's conservative President Anibal Cavaco Silva, who can ratify or veto it. A veto can be overturned by Parliament.

If there is no presidential veto, the first gay marriage ceremonies could take place in April— a month before Pope Benedict XVI is due on a four-day official visit."

Portugal would join Spain, The Netherlands, Sweden, Norway, and Belgium in allowing gay couples to marry.


  1. says

    Very cool. Sometimes I can’t believe how other countries are further ahead than ours with gay rights. Even South Africa has gay marriage.

  2. Rob says

    my god does the glass always have to be half full?! who said marriage is the end all be all for gay rights

  3. James says

    Meanwhile obese McDonald’s eating, Walmart shopping ignorant fools keep America 40 years behind the rest of the world.

    We still buying that ‘land of the free’ thing, or can we stop pretending now?

  4. Lars says

    Rob, it ain’t about marriage, it’s about changing attitudes. I’d fight to the death for the right to marry another dude, but marriage is the last thing I want personally, who needs a license to f**k?
    Relationships develop. I’ve been with my buddy nineteen years. Marriage would allow me into the I.C.U. if any nasty shit happens.
    Bravo for Portugal, I say. And the men aren’t bad either!

  5. Willig says

    No, marriage is not the end all for gay rights, but where marriage equality has come into force, the law already protects the rights of gays from public and private discrimination. So, in these EP jurisdictions, not much else to work for once marriage equality is adopted, except for adoption.

  6. says

    yes, this is great news.

    although adoption is not included in the proposal, it is bound to happen sometime very soon, i guess everyone is aware of that, especially those on the political right who are centering the discussion around that issue instead.

    and i agree with lars: even if my personal view on marriage is one of skepticism, to put it mildly, the fight for equality is not only common sense, it is the only thing to do.

    and that fight goes on… the country’s homophobia is still strong and deeply rooted in parts of our society. mostly, i think, because we’ve spent a large part of the 20th century being ruled by a repressing dictatorship that encouraged ignorance and tried to keep us isolated from the outside world. all of us in portugal are still paying the price for that.

    but mentalities also change for the better. steps like this one give a big push in the right direction, and we’re all getting there. this is a perfect way to keep that in mind.

  7. Timothy says

    “Portugal would join Spain, The Netherlands, Sweden, Norway, and Belgium in allowing gay couples to marry.”

    AND South Africa and Canada

  8. John says

    On the issue of LGBT rights, South Africa is rarely mentioned in the same breath as the European countries. And on the rare occasions when it is mentioned, it is always in a mildly derisive manner. As if to suggest “how could our perfect society be behind those spear chucking lion chasers?”

    This is white supremacy in its most subtle – and I would argue dangerous – form.

  9. Derrick from Philly says


    you’re right, of course. And we’re all happy about the progress that Western countries are making on the issues of gay civil rights and marriage equality. BUT (y’all knew the “BUT” was comin’)– BUT except for Sweeden and Norway, what do all those other European countries have in common? How did they achieve the material wealth that allows them to achieve genteel and open-minded societies? How’d they get so rich, allowing them to get sophisticated about giving happiness for homos.

  10. DairyQueen says

    I hope it passes so I can stick it to my bigoted “mother in-law” that her mother country Portugal doesn’t give a shit about her catholic beliefs when it comes to civil law.

  11. John says


    I understand that some might misinterpret my comments as a wholesale endorsement of economic sanctions against Uganda. Sanctions that will cause untold death and suffering to a people who are already among the world’s poorest.

    That’s certainly not the case.

    White supremacy seeks to degrade the virtues, as well as accentuate the flaws, of the conquered people. And it can do both at the same time. This is true whether you’re talking about Africa, the Middle East, or Asia.

    In the case of South Africa, pre-existing virtues are buried and ignored. Whereas in Uganda, pre-existing flaws are publicized and mocked.

    We must recognize that these disparate reactions serve the same goal and stem from the same ideology. They are systematic attempts to deny both (1) European culpability in the current state of affairs the African continent finds itself in, and just as importantly, (2) the notion that any of these countries can ever advance beyond the artificial limitations imposed by the European occupiers.

  12. says

    Y’see. People should NOT look at this as encouragement for the Marriage Equality movement in the United States. The United States is NOT Norway, Spain, or even Portugal. The United States is NOT Canada. We have a subtle control of our government by evangelical Christian forces. Those governments that legalized Same-Sex marriage did not. They did not have to ‘fight’ the way we have been ‘fighting’. Same-Sex marriage is not yet for every country.

    May I point to the fact that it took 40 years of activism to get 8 states to recognize same-sex marriage (even after 40 years the Federal Government still doesn’t recognize it) and it only took the right-wing movement 2 years to take away 3 of those states. Doing the math, we only got (.20) states per year since Stonewall. By comparison they got (1.5) states per year since Prop 8.

    I’m not against same-sex marriage. I’m against this notion that we should only offer ‘marriage’ to people. I think we should expand rights to both same and opposite-sex couples in Domestic Partnerships, too. Being Atheist I think it is only fair to give non-theistic people the opportunity to engage in a non-marital union.

    Again, I’m not against same-sex marriage. I’m only against this idea a lot of LGBT groups have that we’re ‘winning’ this ‘fight’. We need to tweak our goal if we are going to even try to get any rights. We tried once, CA, and failed. We tried twice, ME, and failed. We tried a third time, NY, and failed. Yes, we got VT, CT, NH, MA, IA. But, I’m sorry, for a fight like this, you only need to focus on your losses. Your wins are all fine and dandy, but they mean nothing if DOMA is still in play. And they mean nothing if people are forced to move to another state to get married. The most important aspect of this is the losses. They speak volumes to what is feasible right now.

    The United Kingdom saw this very problem. The religious community didn’t want marriage to include same-sex couples. So, they conceded and created a Federal Civil Partnership registry that mirrors every single right. The only right that same-sex couples don’t have (if you consider this a right) is the right to have a religious person witness the signing of the papers. UK Civil Partners usually have a ceremony of their own and aren’t really effected by this only restriction.

    But, seriously, good news for Portugal. But, means nothing to the American LGBT movement since America is politically made up like Portugal is. Granted they are not made up like the UK is, but there is a larger chance of passing equal rights under Domestic Partnership legislation than marriage right now. (and that’s not a myth, it is a fact that was proven with Ref. 71 in WA and Question 1 in ME. That should have proven to the LGBT community what is and what is not possible in America right now.)

    Will America accept Same-Sex marriage, undoubtedly so. But, NOT RIGHT NOW. Is it right to keep same-sex couples from marrying? No, it is a violation of the US constitution. But, is it also right to continue a fight when the math says you are loosing? Is it right to ignore the fact that in the same day Same-sex marriage lost in a state, in a completely different state Domestic Partnership laws won and expanded to include state rights of married couples?

  13. says

    My husband & I had the same thought when we read this news:

    Wouldn’t it be cool if Portugal’s parliament dragged their feet for–oh–about a month?

    Imagine being able to show up at a Papal appearance with a sign reading:

    “Lieber Papa Ratzi,

    Wir haben heute geheiratet!

    Liebe, Jim und Steven”

    (We got married today!)

  14. Zach says

    “(and that’s not a myth, it is a fact that was proven with Ref. 71 in WA and Question 1 in ME. That should have proven to the LGBT community what is and what is not possible in America right now.)”

    Two things:

    1) The marriage fight has never and will never preclude other ongoing campaigns for civil rights. It’s unfair and completely inaccurate to imply that all other work has been sacrificed on the altar of gay marriage.

    Nor is outright incrementalism an advisable strategy. You take your victories where you can, but the polarities in this debate both know what the other’s endgame is. For gay-marriage proponents, it’s gay marriage. For gay-marriage opponents, the ones raising all this money and obsessing about gay sex, it’s the criminalization and marginalization of gays again.

    2) On that note, it’s critical to realize that the everything-but-marriage victory was much more significant because of the loss in Maine. It’s not particularly helpful for what’s possible in other states or even nationwide, and the biggest mistake the gay-rights movement can make is to assume the strategy or goal for one state can be transferred to another.

    “Being Atheist I think it is only fair to give non-theistic people the opportunity to engage in a non-marital union.”

    The idea that marriage is either solely a religious idea or only recently a secular one is utter nonsense. It’s why appeals to the traditional definition of marriage are so ludicrous. People born four hundred years ago would find our conceptions and ideas of marriage strange and appalling. I see no problem in people defining their relationship however they choose, but marriage does not have to be a religious straitjacket.

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  16. Michael says

    You forgot to include Canada in your list of countries allowing gay marriage. Our country has not fallen apart despite gays in the military, gay marriage, and out gay politicians