Portugal's Constitutional Court has
OK'd a gay marriage bill approved by lawmakers, Portugal's IOL
President Anibal Cavaco Silva said he
forwarded four out of five of the bill's articles to the
Constitutional Court because “he 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.
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.