Portugal President Anibal Cavaco Silva
has forwarded a gay marriage bill approved by Parliamentarians to the
nation's Constitutional Court, Lisbon's Diario de Noticias
Cavaco Silva asked the court to review
the constitutionality of 4 out of 5 of the bill's articles. Article
3, which was not forwarded, would forbid married gay and lesbian
couples from adopting children.
The Constitutional Court has already
ruled against gay marriage. In a narrow 3-to-2 decision last year,
the court denied a lesbian couple the right to marry, despite a
provision in the constitution that bans discrimination on the basis
of sexual orientation.
The nation's Socialist-controlled
Parliament, led by Prime Minister Jose Socrates, approved the measure
on February 11.
Cavaco Silva's conservative PSD party
opposes giving gay and lesbian couples the right to marry.
Opposition to gay marriage in the
mostly Roman Catholic country has been nominal, but opponents did
stage a huge rally attended by thousands after lawmakers approved the
While the Roman Catholic Church loudly
protested the 2005 passage of a gay marriage bill in neighboring
Spain, the church's opposition in Portugal has been muted. However,
Pope Benedict is widely expected to criticize the measure when he
visits the country in May.
According to Portugal's Constitution,
the Constitutional Court has 25 days to review the president's
Gay marriage is legal in five European
counties, including Spain, Belgium, the Netherlands, Norway and, most