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Same-sex marriage allowed in Portugal

July 12th 2010

Read the commentary from the Commission for Citizenship and Gender Equality, Portuguese equality body.

Portugal is now the sixth country in Europe to allow same-sex couples marriages, after Belgium, Spain, Norway, the Netherlands, and Sweden.

In January 2010, the Portuguese Parliament approved a bill legalizing marriage between persons of the same gender. The law was ratified by President Anibal Cavaco Silva on 17 May 2010 and became effective on 5 June 2010.

The Commission for Citizenship and Gender Equality (CIG), the Portuguese equality body and member of Equinet welcomes the adoption of this law. João Paiva, CIG spokesperson, said that ‘the approval of same-sex marriage brings true equality to all people in Portugal regarding their conjugality. The state sets an example by treating equally all its citizens, by granting the same freedom to marry to same-sex couples and therefore restoring dignity to those citizens who were excluded before.

Besides the practical aspects and protection that the marriage law confers now to same-sex couples who wish to marry (exception made to parenthood), that were exclusive of different-sex couples, it sends a strong pedagogic message regarding human and citizenship rights and shows in practice how the state must be the first one to promote and apply the principles of non-discrimination.

Although this new law paves the way for the recognition of same-sex couples’ rights, it does not allow gay couples to adopt.

Countries such as the United Kingdom, France and Germany recognize civil unions between same-sex partners. Iceland recently began to allow same- sex marriage (June 2010).

Commission for Citizenship and Gender Equality (CIG) website:

ILGA Europe website: