Portugal's Constitutional Court has OK'd a gay marriage bill approved by lawmakers, Portugal's IOL Diario reported.

President Anibal Cavaco Silva said he forwarded four out of five of the bill's articles to the Constitutional Court because β€œhe had doubts about its constitutionality.” The excluded article bans adoption by married gay and lesbian couples. Cavaco Silva, a Roman Catholic and a member of the PSD party, groups which oppose the legalization of gay marriage, has remained mum on why he set aside the adoption measure.

In an opinion released Thursday and written by Justice Victor Gomes, the court's majority agreed the bill is constitutional. Two judges disagreed.

Portugal's Socialist-controlled Parliament, led by Prime Minister Jose Socrates, approved the gay marriage bill on February 11.

The president still has the option of vetoing the legislation, but Socrates has said he is prepared to overturn the veto.

The Vatican has vociferously opposed laws that grant gay couples the right to marry. Pope Benedict has called for the ouster of Socialists in Spain who approved a gay marriage law in 2005, but the church's opposition in the Catholic stronghold of Portugal has been muted. However, Benedict is widely expected to criticize the bill when he visits Portugal next month.

If approved, Portugal would join five European countries – Spain, Belgium, the Netherlands, Norway and, most recently, Sweden – in legalizing gay marriage.