Portugal’s President to Sign Same-Sex Marriage into Law

Portuguese President Anibal Cavaco Silva says he will sign a marriage equality bill, the AP reports:

Portugal "The head of state's decision to permit the enactment of a bill passed by Parliament in January makes Portugal the sixth European country allowing same-sex couples to wed. President Anibal Cavaco Silva 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…'Given that fact, I feel I should not contribute to a pointless extension of this debate, which would only serve to deepen the divisions between the Portuguese and divert the attention of politicians away from the grave problems affecting us,' Cavaco Silva said."


  1. Name: says

    At least their president has balls. As we try to over turn DADT they’re decades ahead of us. OBAMA is such a huge disappointment. I hope there’s a primary challenge to him in 2012.

  2. Zach says

    “At least their president has balls.”

    Did you even read the story, or realize the underlying context?

    I get the unrelenting negativity, but some of you have to at least learn to read before you write.

  3. says

    Hi from Portugal. :)

    Our president doesn’t have balls. He’s right-wing, conservative and homophobic.
    His declaration was hilarious, he seemed to be in a funeral.
    He just knew that the parliament would approve it anyway.

    There’s still a lot to do here in Portugal, he had a dictatorship during three decades and mentalities are slowly opening. Just hope we can follow Spain in the process.

    A very good day to be gay here in Portugal.

    The best luck for everyone in your fight for equal rights!

  4. says


    So he’s gonna sign the bill into law because he feels he has to or else Parliament will do it for him. Interesting.

    That still puts Portugal WAY ahead on the tolerance scale than the US. We’re still waffling on the whole DADT thing. (As an aside, I’m starting to worry the repeal of DADT is not in the bag anymore. *sigh*)

    Regardless, it’s a good day to be gay in Portugal. Salut!

  5. John in Boston says

    John Normile:

    Gay marriage is legal in Iowa,Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Vermont, Washington DC, and the Coquille Indian Tribe in Oregon.

  6. says

    Exactly. There is a left-wing majority in the Parliament and he knew that the law would be approved anyway, he would just be extending this question a couple of weeks.

  7. John in Boston says

    Look at the situation with a critically not sentimentally: Portugal is about to turn into another Greece; I doubt very much if gay marriage is upper-most on most Portuguese minds. It’s obvious the bill’s sponsors are taking advantage of a chaotic situation.

  8. says

    John in Boston,

    Not really. This was one of the three big questions that the Socialist Party (it isn’t socialist, it’s just the name, it’s centre-left, like your Democratic Party) promised to solve when they were re-elected. Portuguese people voted for it.

    This question is being discussed during the last years, way before the economic crisis.
    Portuguese people aren’t specially enthusiastic about it, but they also don’t seem to care that gays can marry. The process in Spain was much more polemic, here it was pacific.

  9. SCOTT in LISBON says

    Yes, Back Room is right….If you heard or watched the President’s speech (as I did) you’d have thought he was going to veto it, but he zinged us with an ‘okey-dokey’ at the last minute. And in the end, Cavaco Silva said in lovely funerial tones that the country had better things to think about (becoming another economic crisis could well happen, à la Greece) so his own personal objections had to be laid aside. Nice that he took the bullet for the sake of “stability.” In any event, I plan to marry my Portuguese partner of 15 years as soon as they get the paperwork together at City Hall.

  10. Dairyqueen says

    A great day for Portugal and another sad day for the USA. Regardless if we have marriage equality in a handful of states our Federal government still treats us like we are single and “shacking up”.

  11. John in Boston says

    Back Room:

    Yeah, I follow you. My point was basically what you said: Most Portuguese (most people everywhere gay marriage is legal IMO, including my state, Massachusetts) aren’t ‘enthusiastic’ about it, but for various reasons go along with it. It’s either leftwing governments (or in the case of Canada and U.S. states, the courts) that get gay marriage laws passed. I’M NOT COMPLAINING…..but the reality is not nearly as noble as many gays and others paint it. Again, in the case of Europe, left centered governments pass the laws (often/usually with no popular vote) frankly because leftwing political coalitions everywhere OWE certain groups, and gay marriage/rights is one of the things they owe, in return of course for other favors and votes. Courts are responsible for legalizing gay marriage in Canada and the U.S. states. The people everywhere, including Europe, are mostly apathetic. People shouldn’t confuse apathy with acceptance. BTW I’m part Portuguese.

  12. Jane Roe says

    Uh, you guys do know that in a parliamentary system of government, the president is just a rubber stamp, and when he’s not, he is very easily overridden by parliament? So to compare this president to a US president is inapt at best, stupid at worst.

  13. Martin in Germany says

    What a stupid argument to connect the economic crisis in Greece with passing gay marriage law in Portugal!
    And what a stupid argument of the president of Portugal to say that because of the crisis he should devote his time to more pressing issues than gay marriage.

    What a stupid argument to say that in some states of the US you “have” gay marriage!: you have gay marriage on paper with NO (!!!) rights attached, you leave your state and, ops, you are single. Apparently you did not pay a lot of attention!
    Yes, Portugal and so many other countries are ahead of the US in granting their gays and lesbians RIGHTS!!! The world did not come to an end, the world actually got more beautiful!

  14. John in Boston says

    All western European nations are so-called welfare states. Everyone, including the middle class, are hooked on government goodies, heavy centralized control and very high taxes. Most people will apathetically go along with various things like gay marriage as long as they also get their job protections, pensions, goodies,…it’s a trade-off, and in effect people have been brought-off. This is less true in the U.S. because traditionally the majority middle-class never really accepted the welfare state mentality, but it does exist among certain demographics in America.

  15. says

    John In Boston,

    Apathy means acceptance, to some degree. And you have to agree that apathy is a lot better than strong opposition. And you know, since you’re a part portuguese, that the fact that gays can marry in Portugal and Spain is a big step forward, because we are talking about countries who are/were massively catholic.

  16. John in Boston says

    Bull shit Martin. You’re just a reflexively anti-American Euro leftie. A major part of the European left ideology has always been gratuitous anti-Americanism because:

    A) The U.S.never became as social democratic and socialist as Europe, and the left has always looked at the U.S. as the main stumbling block to the triumph of socialism.

    B) Rage and jealousy the western world has lived under a Pax Americana since the end of WW2, eclipsing Europe, and the power and influence of European intelligentsia, who have traditionally looked down on and scorned the U.S. and Americans.

    I know the average European, regardless of their ethnicity/nation, isn’t anymore accepting or noble than the average American. But many Europeans have a big chip on their shoulder regarding the U.S. and Americans, and are very concerned with at least appearing morally/ethically superior. But since I’m intimate with both worlds (I’m a 1st generation American) it’s a lot harder to pull the wool over my eyes.

    NEVER FORGET the worse violence, bigotry, and bloodshed the world has ever seen was caused by so-called civilized Europeans (over 100 million people killed in the 2 world wars) not cowboy Americans. The cowboy Americans helped liberate the death camps in Germany and elsewhere; it didn’t create and set them up.

  17. John in Boston says

    I know there’s an attitude of me and my family, fuck everyone else, in Latin cultures also Back Room. Apathy IS NOT acceptance. Often, people can come across as accepting and progressive when really they just don’t give an F as long as it doesn’t concern them and their family.

  18. says

    I said to “some degree”, we are in that direction. :)

    The other US vs Europe discussion is complete non-sense. And some of you don’t know much about Europe.

    Let’s focus on fighting for LGBT rights worldwide. :)

  19. walter says

    the europeans are more open to gays. they serve openly in the miltitary in most european countrites and gay marriage is legal in a lot of european countries. our government has little if anything for gay rights except to tax us. we get to pay for everybody’s liberty except our own. if we are less than 100% citizens can we get a reduced tax rate.the obama administration is just hoping we go away at least until the next election

  20. Jay Croce says

    Finally someone with their priorities in order!! The U.S. wants to continue fighting it’s own Gay Citizens, while we lose wars, our coastline is swimming in oil, and our economy goes down the drain. Go Portugal!!

  21. Martin in Germany says

    John in Boston:

    To bring up the Nazi death camps and guilt… with gay marriage laws in Europe is something. What would you have written if I were from France? That you don’t like the French anyway!
    Welfare State, higher taxes… leftist elite??? You are against universal healthcare, free college studies as well! But this is not the issue (in the end compare who pays more in taxes, fees, hidden subsidies for big companies…. and who get’s told every day to live in the land of the free)!
    Bring up the Euro crisis in Greece and other states as an argument for pushing gay rights is idiocy.
    Governments from the right and left have agreed on granting and enforcing gay rights. Check the facts! The EU is the strongest supporter of gay European rights to be enforced all over the member states (European constitution) and they actually have Italy pay penalties for not implementing gay rights!
    Europe has gay marriage, gay civil unions which actually mean something – shared pensions, immigration rights… unlike a gay marriage from DC… which has no federal rights attached. So why bring something up this meaningless and has just symbolic character? You are married in DC and have NO FEDERAL RIGHTS with it!!!
    Accept that the USA is not number 1! Accept that other states are further developed… that’s a fact. The US will follow…

  22. BobN says

    “Again, in the case of Europe, left centered governments pass the laws (often/usually with no popular vote) frankly because leftwing political coalitions everywhere OWE certain groups, and gay marriage/rights is one of the things they owe, in return of course for other favors and votes.”

    Yeah, and in the U.S. the GOP stands in the way of any and all gay rights because “Christian” fundamentalists are owed.

    Do you note the difference? It seems to me that supporting freedom for those who support your party is a lot more morally defensive than discriminating against the minority your supporters don’t like.

    But that’s just me…

  23. winston says

    The president of Portugal is really just a rubber stamp. He is the head of state (like the Queen of the UK) but not the head of government — which is the prime minister who wields the real power. All a president can do is sent things back to parliament for reconsideration. Otherwise, in most cases, he signs a bill into law. The fact he signed this one says nothing about his politically.

    Just a reminder that in the US (like most of Latin America and Africa), we differ from most European countries in that our head of state and head of government are the same person. In Europe, it tends to be two different people.

  24. Paul says

    I love the fact that he waited for the Pope to leave the country before he announced this. What’s wrong? Wouldn’t Pope Benedict XVI approve of this? Cowardly men and their actions.The President of Portugal is more like a stately figure than a politician in power. He could have vetoed the bill, but it was going ahead either way. He needs to retire and let more modern progressives in office.