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  Portuguese Parliament OKs Gay Marriage
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ContributorBrandonius Maximus 
Last EditedBrandonius Maximus  Jan 08, 2010 03:50pm
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CategoryProposed Legislation
MediaTV News - Columbia Broadcasting System CBS News
News DateFriday, January 8, 2010 09:00:00 PM UTC0:0
Description(AP) Portugal's parliament passed a bill Friday that would make the predominantly Catholic nation the sixth in Europe to permit gay marriage.

Conservative President Anibal Cavaco Silva is thought unlikely to veto the Socialist government's bill, which won the support of all left-of-center parties. His ratification would allow the first gay marriage ceremonies to take place in April - a month before Pope Benedict XVI is due on an official visit to Portugal.

Right-of-center parties opposed the change and sought a national referendum on the issue, but their proposal was rejected, and the government's bill was passed by 125 votes to 99.

Gay rights campaigners applauded from the galleries, hugged and kissed outside the building, and ate wedding cake.

"This law rights a wrong," Prime Minister Jose Socrates said in a speech to lawmakers, adding that it "simply ends pointless suffering."

Socrates said the measure is part of his effort to modernize Portugal where homosexuality was a crime until 1982. Two years ago his government lifted Portugal's ban on abortion, despite church opposition.
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