Lesbian Couple are First Same-Sex Couple to Marry in Portugal
The first same-sex marriage was performed in Portugal yesterday after the country legalized gay marriage in May. Language altering the country's constitution to allow for same-sex marriage went into effect yesterday, reported On Top Magazine. The couple, Teresa Pires and Helena Paixao, have been together since 2003 and played a strong role in campaigning for the legalization of same-sex marriage in the predominantly Catholic country. Pires and Paixao were married during a 15-minute-service in Lisbon, Portugal. They are both divorced Portugese mothers in their 30's.
The bill that legalized same-sex marriage was passed by Portugal's Parliament in January and reluctantly ratified by President Anibal Cavaco Silva in May, as he felt that a veto would have been overturned by liberal lawmakers in the country's Parliament, reported the Associated Press. 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. Under the new law, same-sex couples are still not allowed to legally adopt children.
The bill makes Portugal the sixth country in Europe to allow same-sex marriage, after Belgium, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and Norway. Many other nations allow same-sex civil unions.
According to the Associated Press, Portugal's socialist government passed the law as part of its effort to modernize Portugal, where homosexuality had been illegal until 1982. The law has faced intense church opposition, although the New York Times reported that "Portuguese society appears to be largely supportive."
Media Resources: Feminist Daily Newswire 2/12/10; BBC News 1/8/10; Associated Press 6/7/10; New York Times 5/13/10; BBC News 6/7/10; MSNBC 1/8/10; On Top Magazine 5/31/10