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Portugal lawmakers give preliminary approval to same-sex marriage bill

[JURIST] The Portuguese Parliament [official website, in Portuguese] on Friday approved a bill to legalize same-sex marriage [JURIST news archive]. The bill gives same-sex couples the same rights as heterosexual married couples, but stops short of allowing same-sex couples to adopt. The bill was supported [Diario de Noticias report, in Portuguese] by the ruling Socialist Part and other leftist parties and faced strong oppositions from conservatives as well as the Catholic Church. The bill will now be reviewed in committee before undergoing a final parliamentary vote. It will then go before President Anibal Cavaco Silva to be signed.

In August, the Portuguese Constitutional Tribunal [official website, in Portuguese] ruled [JURIST report] that same-sex marriage is not a right guaranteed by the Portuguese Constitution [text], denying an appeal by a lesbian couple claiming sexual orientation discrimination. In October 2008, parliament voted overwhelmingly against [JURIST report] two opposition proposals to legalize same-sex marriage. If the bill is given final approval, Portugal would become the sixth European country to recognize same-sex marriage, joining Belgium, the Netherlands, Spain, Norway, and Sweden [JURIST reports].

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