LGBT rights in Portugal
|LGBT rights in Portugal|
|Same-sex sexual activity legal?||Legal since 1982;
Age of consent equalized in 2007
|Military service||Gays and lesbians allowed to serve openly|
|Discrimination protections||Sexual orientation and gender identity protections (see below)|
|Same-sex marriage since 2010;
Same-sex unregistered partnership since 2001
|Adoption||No/Yes (some adoption rights passed the Portugal Parliament on May 17th 2013, yet to be signed or ratified by the President)|
Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights in Portugal have improved substantially in the past decade and are now among the best in the world. After a long period of oppression during the Salazar dictatorship, Portuguese society has become increasingly accepting of homosexuality, which was decriminalized in 1982, eight years after the Carnation Revolution. Portugal has wide-ranging anti-discrimination laws and is one of the few countries in the world to contain a ban on discrimination based on sexual orientation in its Constitution. Since 5 June 2010, the state became the eighth in the world to recognize same-sex marriage, even though any couple of the same sex are not able to jointly adopt – but they may adopt as individuals. On 1 March 2011 the President ratified the Law of Gender Identity, said to be the most advanced in the world, which simplifies the process of sex and name change for transsexual people.
Law regarding same-sex sexual activity
Same-sex sexual activity was first decriminalised in 1852, but it was made a crime again in 1886, and Portugal gradually became more oppressive of homosexuals until and throughout the dictatorship years. It wasn't until 1982 that same-sex sexual activity was decriminalised again, and the age of consent was equalized with different-sex activity at 14 years of age in 2007.
Discrimination based on gender expression is illegal by the Portuguese law. Formal approval of sex reassignment is recognised.
|This section requires expansion. (May 2009)|
Discrimination protections and hate crimes laws
In 2003, laws against discrimination based on sexual orientation in employment came into effect concerning three particular measures: access to work and employment, protection against discrimination in work and against sexual harassment. Since 2004, the Constitution prohibits any form of discrimination based on sexual orientation, making Portugal one of the only countries in the world to enshrine a ban on discrimination based on sexual orientation in its constitution. A new Penal Code in 2007 came in force which strengthened the anti-discrimination legislation much further, containing several provisions that relate to sexual orientation in three aspects: recognition of same-sex relationships through protection in the same means as to different-sex relationships, such as against domestic violence and murder; equal age of consent between same-sex and different-sex relationships; and sexual orientation being considered an aggravating circumstance relating to homicide, thus, organizing, supporting or encouraging discrimination and violence towards persons or groups based on sexual orientation (like other discriminations such as race and religious beliefs) is criminalized.
In 2013, the Portugal Parliament passed a law that adds "gender identity" to the hate crimes provision in the Penal Code - that already includes "sexual orientation" since 2007.
Recognition of same-sex relationships
Portugal has recognized unregistered cohabitation since 5 May 2001, and same-sex marriage since 5 June 2010. Same-sex marriage was legalized under the second term of the Socrates Socialist Government, and passed the Portuguese Parliament with the support of other leftist parties. Same-sex married couples are granted all of the rights of different-sex married couples, except the right to jointly adopt children and to have access to IVF. The Penal Code was amended in 2007 to equalize the age of consent and to criminalize domestic violence in same-sex relationships, thus equalising treatment with opposite-sex couples. The bill was fiercely opposed by conservatives.
Adoption and family planning
Although single gays may adopt, co and joint adoption of children is restricted to different-sex couples (regardless if in a de facto relationship or married), same-sex couples are also informally forbidden of receiving children in a refuge family or of any legal kind, although there have been several court rulings sending children to live with same-sex family couples. Besides this, IVF is also currently not available for both single women and lesbian couples, as well as surrogacy pregnancy is not allowed in the country. Parenthood is the only area of Portuguese legislation which continues to discriminate against same-sex couples.
In the past, Portugal has been forced to pay a fine due to homophobic statements from a court that ruled against a gay father's right for his daughter's custody. The European Court of Human Rights received the case and ruled in favor of the father in 1999, demanding the custody back to him and issuing a penalty for the country. In March 2011 the President ratified the new Law of Gender Identity, which, among other things, does not impose sterility for transsexuals, thus recognizing biological LGBT parenting, concerning cases of transsexual lesbian or bisexual women who keep their semen before therapy and surgery to be able to later conceive with their spouses, creating a perfectly legal and recognized case of children with biological same-sex parents. This will certainly open discussion for the legal contemplation of other LGBT parenting rights.
Although there are several cases of public prejudice against LGBTs, there is a dynamic gay scene in Lisbon, Porto and in the main touristic cities in the Algarve region, like Faro, Lagos, Albufeira and Tavira, with gay bars, pubs, nightclubs and beaches (in the Algarve). Other smaller cities and regions such as Aveiro, Leiria, Coimbra, Braga, Évora and Madeira have more discreet gay communities, not very visible to the public eye. In Lisbon, most LGBT-oriented businesses are grouped around the bohemian Bairro Alto and the adjacent Príncipe Real and Chiado neighbourhoods. In both Lisbon and Porto there are also annual Gay Pride Parades that attract thousands of participants and spectators. Lisbon is also host to one of the largest LGBT film festivals in Europe – Queer Lisboa – the Lisbon Gay & Lesbian Film Festival. Some Portuguese beaches are popular among LGBT population, like 19 Beach, near Costa da Caparica, and Barril Naturist Beach (an official naturist beach) or Cacela Velha beach, both of them near Tavira.
A Eurobarometer survey published in late 2006 showed that only 30% of Portuguese surveyed support same-sex marriage and 20% recognise same-sex couple's right to adopt (EU-wide average 44% and 33%).
Opinions on same-sex marriage have considerably changed in 2009 with the discussion of the same-sex marriage bill. A survey by the Universidade Catolica reveals that 42% of the inquired citizens were in favour of same-sex marriage and another recent survey by Eurosondagem, Radio Renascenca, SIC TV, and the Expresso newspaper stated that about 52% of the Portuguese are in favour of same sex marriages. Most recently, an Angus Reid poll on 11 January 2010, showed that 45.5% of those polled were in support of same-sex marriage, but this was less than the 49.3% that opposed.
Views on adoption have not changed significantly: only 21.7% favor adoption while 68.4% oppose allowing gay couples to adopt.
|Same-sex sexual activity legal||(from 1852 to 1886; and since 1982)|
|Gays allowed to serve in the military||(since 1999)|
|Recognition of same-sex unions||(since 2001)|
|Anti-discrimination laws in employment||(since 2003)|
|Anti-discrimination laws in all other areas||(since 2004)|
|Equal age of consent||(since 2007)|
|Both homophobia and transphobia criminalised (hate/speech crimes)||(since 2007 for homophobia and since 2013 for transphobia)|
|Same-sex marriage||(since 2010)|
|MSMs allowed to donate blood||(since 2010)|
|Formal approval of sex reassignment (counseling, therapy and surgery)||(since 2011)|
|Right to change legal gender||(since 2011)|
|Full or some adoption rights for same-sex couples||/ (some adoption rights only - yet to be ratified from 2013)|
|Commercial surrogacy for gay male couples||(also banned for heterosexual couples as well)|
|Access to IVF for lesbians and single women|
|Recognition of sexual orientation and gender identity for asylum request|
- International: Global Summary of Registered Partnership, Domestic Partnership, and Marriage Laws, stand as of November 2003, International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission
- Mark Ellingham:Portugal, Rough Guides, p. 49.
- (Portuguese) PortugalPride.org
- (Portuguese) Lei n.° 9/2010 de 31 de Maio Permite o casamento civil entre pessoas do mesmo sexo
- (Portuguese) Segunda-feira já vai ser possível celebrar casamentos entre pessoas do mesmo sexo
- Portugal becomes the sixth country in Europe to legalise gay marriage, Kate Loveys, Daily Mail, 18 May 2010
- Portugal's president to ratify same-sex marriage law, BBC News, 17 May 2010
- (Portuguese) Statement of the Presidency of the Republic on the bill referring to sex change in civil registries
- Cavaco Silva ratifies the bill referring to sex change in civil registries
- (Portuguese) O Estado Novo dizia que não havia homossexuais, mas perseguia-os
- (Portuguese) Homossexualidade é crime em 75 países
- (Portuguese) Constituição da república Portuguesa
- (Portuguese) Vigésima terceira alteração ao Código Penal, Alterações Lei N° 59/2007 de 4 de Setembro
- Portugal Expands Adoption Rights for Gay Couples, ABC News, The Associated Press, May 17, 2013
- Lisbon Gay Travel Guide & Map – Bars, Clubs, Hotels
- (Portuguese) O que é que o Chiado tem?
- The natural delights of Faro
- Eight EU Countries Back Same-Sex Marriage
- (Portuguese) Somos uma sociedade homofóbica?
- Portuguese support same-sex marriage, by a smidge
- Portuguese Split on Same-Sex Marriage
- LGBT World legal wrap up survey
- (Portuguese) Aprovado diploma para permitir que homossexuais possam dar sangue
- (Portuguese) AR aprova diploma que permite a homossexuais dar sangue
- (Portuguese) Comunicado na Presidência da República sobre o diploma relativo ao procedimento de mudança de sexo no registo civil
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