[JURIST] The Constitutional Tribunal of Portugal [official website, in Portuguese] ruled [press release, in Portuguese] 3-2 Friday that same-sex marriage [JURIST news archive] is not a right guaranteed by the Portuguese Constitution [text], denying an appeal by a lesbian couple claiming sexual orientation discrimination. For the tribunal, the issue was not whether the constitution allows a framework for same=sex marriage, but rather whether the constitution requires the recognition of unions between members of the same sex as marriages. The couple argued that the constitution should protect their right to wed under the concept of protection from discrimination. Teresa Pires and Helena Paixao are the first to challenge Portuguese laws regarding same-sex marriage, and they regard the split decision as a signal that social attitudes in the country are changing. They intend to pursue [Correio da Manha report, in Portuguese] the issue further in the European Court of Human Rights [official website]. Portuguese media identify [Diario Economico report, in Portuguese] the issue as one that will be raised in the upcoming September legislative elections by leftist parties.
In October, the Portuguese Assembly of the Republic [official website, in Portuguese] voted overwhelmingly against [JURIST report] two opposition proposals to legalize same-sex marriage. In Europe, the countries of Belgium, Spain, the Netherlands, Norway, and Sweden recognize [Pew Forum report] same-sex marriages. Worldwide, gay rights and the legal status of same-sex relationships are constantly evolving. Canada as well as some states in the US [Pew Forum report] also allow same-sex marriage.