The Very Catholic Portugal Moves Forward with Gay Marriage

In the 1970’s, homosexuality was a crime in Portugal. Portugal’s parliament passed a bill Friday that would now make the predominantly Catholic nation the sixth in Europe to permit gay marriage.


Gay rights campaigners  hugged and kissed outside the building and ate wedding cake.Campaigners applauded Friday from parliament’s galleries and champagne corks sailed into the air outside. They sliced into a huge tiered wedding cake on parliament’s steps, festooned with two bride dolls and two grooms. Dozens of rainbow flags fluttered in the chilly Atlantic breeze

The bill now goes back to a committee for review before a final vote. Then if the president signs it – as he’s expected to do – Portugal’s first gay wedding could take place around April.

The measure passed parliament along party lines with the support of the ruling Socialists led by Prime Minister Jose Socrates. He said the bill aimed to remedy decades of injustice toward gays in Portugal.

“I am of a generation – as we all are – which is not proud of the way it treated homosexuals,” Socrates told lawmakers. He also sought to reassure more conservative Portuguese citizens about the move.

“This is a step that will seem completely natural in the near future, in the same way that gender equality, abortion rights and unmarried couples living together are normal now,” he said.