Same-sex marriage in Portugal
|Legal status of same-sex unions|
* Not yet in effect
Same-sex marriage has been legal in Portugal since 5 June 2010. The government of Prime Minister José Sócrates introduced a bill for legalization in December 2009; it was passed by the Assembly of the Republic (the Portuguese Parliament) in February 2010. The bill was declared legally valid by the Portuguese Constitutional Court in April 2010. On 17 May 2010, President Aníbal Cavaco Silva ratified the law and Portugal became the sixth country in Europe and the eighth country in the world to allow same-sex marriage nationwide. The law was published in the official journal Diário da Republica on 31 May 2010 and became effective on 5 June 2010.
Constitutional Court ruling
On 1 February 2006, a lesbian couple applied for a marriage licence. Their application was refused, but the couple, Teresa Pires and Helena Paixão, promised to challenge the ban in court, saying that it discriminated against them on the basis of sexual orientation, where this type of discrimination is banned by the 1976 constitution. Discrimination based on sexual orientation was made illegal in 2004. In May 2007, the court rejected the motion and they appealed to the Portuguese Constitutional Court. The Constitutional Court received the case in July 2007. Helena and Teresa's lawyer, Luís Grave Rodrigues, presented their allegations on 19 October 2007, including seven legal opinions (pareceres) from Portuguese professors of law arguing that the ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional.
On 9 July 2009, the Constitutional Court decided on a 3–2 vote that the constitution does not demand the recognition of same-sex marriage, but also does not oppose it, and that the decision must be made by the Assembly of the Republic (the Portuguese Parliament).
The BE and PEV's 2008 bills
Two bills to legalize same-sex marriage were presented to Parliament on 10 October 2008. The bills were introduced separately by the Left Bloc (BE) and Green Party (PEV). Both bills were rejected by parliament on opposition from the governing Socialist Party and the main opposition Social Democratic Party.
The Government's 2009-2010 bill
Prime Minister José Sócrates stated on 18 January 2009 that, if re-elected in the September 2009 elections, he planned to introduce a bill to allow same-sex couples the right to marry. While the bill did not contemplate adoption, most LGBT organizations in Portugal supported the measure as an important step.
In March 2009, Jorge Lacão, the Secretary of State for the Presidency of the Council of Ministers, confirmed that the Socialist government intended to legalize same-sex marriage if re-elected in 2009.
In May 2009, a grassroots movement, The Movement for Equality in Access to Civil Marriage, was formed to campaign for the proposed same-sex marriage law. It attracted the support of several Portuguese celebrities, including Nobel Prize winner José Saramago and the Mayor of Lisbon António Costa.
In October 2009, the newly re-elected José Sócrates made an assurance that the Socialist Party would move ahead with its campaign promise of same-sex marriage. The proposition received strong support from the Left Bloc, with its parliamentary leader presenting a proposed amendment to the Family Code which would make the definition of marriage gender-neutral. In mid-October 2009 Jorge Lacão said it would be likely that same-sex marriage would be legalised in early 2010.
On 3 November 2009, José Ribeiro e Castro, a member of the CDS-PP, called for a referendum but the Prime minister, the Socialist Party and Left Bloc rejected that idea. On 4 November Francisco Assis, the parliamentary leader of the Socialist Party, said same-sex marriage bill would be voted soon and confirmed that the bill would not allow same-sex couples to adopt children.
On 8 January 2010, after a debate, which included the intervention of the Prime Minister, the Portuguese Parliament passed the government's bill in its first reading, and rejected the bills introduced by Left Bloc and Green Party, as well as the measure to create registered civil unions, submitted by the PSD. On 10 February, the Constitutional Affairs Committee of Parliament approved the bill. The final parliamentary vote took place on 11 February, with the bill being approved. On 24 February 2010, the Constitutional Affairs Committee sent the bill to the Portuguese President Aníbal Cavaco Silva.
On 13 March 2010, the President asked the Constitutional Court to verify whether the bill was constitutional. On 8 April 2010, the Portuguese Constitutional Court ruled (11–2) for the constitutionality of the bill, with three members concluding that the Constitution required the recognition of same-sex marriages. The ruling was published in the official gazette on 28 April, giving President Aníbal Cavaco Silva twenty days to sign, or veto, the bill.
On 17 May 2010, the President signed the bill. The law was published in Diário da República on 31 May 2010 and became effective on 5 June 2010. On 7 June Teresa Pires and Helena Paixão became the first lesbian same-sex couple to marry in Portugal.
On 17 May 2013, the Parliament rejected a bill allowing same-sex couples to adopt children, in a 104-77 vote. On the same day the parliament approved in the first reading a bill allowing same-sex married couples to adopt their partner's children (i.e. step-child adoption). However, a bill was rejected in the second reading on 14 March 2014, in a 107-112 vote.
On 17 January 2014, the parliament approved the resolution to hold the referendum on adoption rights for same-sex couples. On 28 January, President Aníbal Cavaco Silva asked the Constitutional Court to verify whether the resolution was constitutional. On 19 February 2014, the Court declared the resolution unconstitutional. Subsequently, Cavaco Silva vetoed it the following day.
On 20 November 2015, the parliament approved 5 bills allowing same-sex adoption in the first reading. The bills were sent to the Committee for Constitutional Affairs, Rights, Freedoms and Guarantees. On 16 December, the committee merged the bills into one project and voted for its approval. On 18 December, the bill was approved by the parliament in the second, final vote. The president vetoed the bill on 23 January 2016, with the decision being announced publicly on 25 January. On 10 February 2016, the veto was overriden by Parliament. It was published in the official journal on 29 February. The law took effect the first day of the first month after its publication (i.e. 1 March 2016).
A number of groups opposed legalizing same-sex marriage during the process of discussion and continue to do so after ratification.
The Catholic Church in Portugal was opposed to the law and, while Portugal is a constitutional secular country, its status as a historically Catholic country was also a reason for the media sensationalism which heightened the controversy over the law.
On 8 January 2010, the parliament rejected a motion calling to the national referendum about same-sex marriage. In February, 5,000 people demonstrated against legalization of same-sex marriage in a march in Lisbon.
On 13 May 2010, during an official visit to Portugal four days before the ratification of the law, Pope Benedict XVI, affirmed his opposition to same-sex marriage, describing it as "insidious and dangerous".
On 19 July 2010, Instituto dos Registos e do Notariado published the following rules on marriage:
- Marriages conducted abroad must be transcribed by civil registries even if they were made before the approval date of same-sex marriage;
- Marriages performed under alternative legislation to civil marriage, such as civil partnerships and civil unions, can not be transcribed;
- Foreign nationals can marry even if marriage between same-sex couples is not recognized in their country of origin;
- Same-sex foreign nationals can marry in Portugal without the need to establish residency;
- Co-adoptions with same-sex couples performed abroad are recognised in Portugal. (Amended in 2016)
Below is the share of respondents in Portugal who agreed with the following statements in the 2015 Special Eurobarometer on discrimination. The last column is the change from the 2006 Eurobarometer where respondents were presented the slightly different statement "Homosexual marriages should be allowed throughout Europe".
|Member state||"Gay and lesbian people
should have the same rights
as heterosexual people"
|"There is nothing wrong
in a sexual relationship between
two persons of the same sex"
|"Same sex marriages should be
allowed throughout Europe"
|Change from 2006
on last statement
- (Portuguese) Lei n.º 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
- Hatton, Barry (May 17, 2010). "Portugal's president ratifies gay marriage law". Associated Press (Google News). Archived from the original on June 5, 2010. Retrieved May 17, 2010.
- Portugal's president to ratify same-sex marriage law
- Portugal blocks lesbian marriage
- (Portuguese) Pareceres de personalidades sustentam alegações de recurso entregue no TConstitucional
- (Portuguese) "Quero-as casadas na Primavera"
- RULING No. 359/2009
- RULING Nº 359/2009 - Summary
- Portugal Gay Marriage Ban Upheld By Court
- Portugal Says No to Gay Marriage
- Portugal's Parliament Votes Against Gay Marriage
- Portugal May Be Next in Line for Gay Marriage
- (Portuguese) Sócrates quer casamento gay e referendo à regionalização
- (Portuguese) Sócrates quer maioria absoluta, promete referendo à regionalização e defende casamento homossexual
- (Portuguese) Portugal: Governo promete legalizar casamento homossexual na próxima legislatura
- (Portuguese) Ferreira Leite admite discriminar casais 'gay'
- Same-sex marriage campaign launched in Portugal
- (Portuguese) José Saramago, Lídia Jorge e Daniel Sampaio apoiam casamento entre homossexuais
- (Portuguese) BE disponível para aprovar a curto prazo casamento homossexual
- (Portuguese) Casamentos gay: BE já entregou diploma para legalização
- (Portuguese) BE avança hoje com casamento homossexual
- Portugal to legalize same-sex marriage
- (Portuguese) Portugal: Casamento gay já durante o próximo ano ?
- (Portuguese) Casamentos homossexuais: Ribeiro e Castro quer referendo
- (Portuguese) Casamentos entre homossexuais avançam
- (Portuguese) BE considera "descabido" fazer referendo ao casamento homossexual
- (Portuguese) Sócrates rejeita referendo sobre casamento gay
- (Portuguese) PS: casamento gay sem referendo, mas nada de adopção
- (Portuguese) Francisco Assis recusa a ideia de referendo ao casamento homossexual
- Portugal tipped to allow gay marriage
- Portuguese govt aims to permit gay marriage
- (Portuguese) Apresentação da Proposta de Lei do casamento civil entre pessoas do mesmo sexo
- "Portugal's Prime Minister: Gay marriage fundamental to equality". Javno.com (Croatia). 2010-01-08. Retrieved 2010-01-08.
- "Portuguese Government debates legalisation of gay marriage". Demotix. 2010-01-08. Retrieved 2010-01-08.
- "Same-sex marriage law backed in Portugal's parliament". BBC. 2010-01-08. Retrieved 2010-01-08.
- "Portugal MPs approve gay marriage". RTÉ News. 2010-01-08. Retrieved 2010-01-08.
- Casamento Homossexual: Parlamento chumba diplomas BE e PEV e projecto PSD para união civil registada
- "Projeto de Lei 14/XI" (in Portuguese). Assembleia Da Republica. Retrieved May 27, 2013.
- "Projeto de Lei 24/XI" (in Portuguese). Assembleia Da Republica. Retrieved May 27, 2013.
- "Projeto de Lei 119/XI" (in Portuguese). Assembleia Da Republica. Retrieved September 12, 2012.
- (Portuguese) Casamento homossexual: diploma aprovado sem alterações na especialidade
- Portuguese Lawmakers Approve Gay Marriage Bill
- Gay marriage approved by the Portuguese Parliament
- Portugal's Gay Marriage Bill Receives Final Approval
- (Portuguese) Casamento gay: redacção final do diploma aprovada
- Portugal Gay Marriage Bill Forwarded To Constitutional Court
- (Portuguese) Casamento gay: Cavaco pede fiscalização do diploma
- RULING No. 121/2010
- RULING Nº 121/2010 - Summary
- Portugal's Constitutional Court OKs Gay Marriage
- Portuguese High Court Approve Same-Sex Marriage Law
- 20 Days To Decide On Gay Marriage In Portugal
- (Portuguese) Acórdão que dá luz verde ao casamento gay publicado hoje em Diário da República
- Pope leaves, Portuguese President signs gay marriage pact
- Lawmakers In Portugal Legalize Gay Marriage
- Portugal lesbian couple in nation's first gay marriage
- Lesbian couple Teresa Pires and Helena Paixao wed in Portugal
- Gay rights: Lawmakers defeat adoption bill for couples
- Portugal rejects that gay couples can adopt
- Portugal Expands Adoption Rights for Gay Couples
- (Portuguese) Projeto de Lei 278/XII
- (Portuguese) Aprovado referendo sobre coadoção de crianças por casais do mesmo sexo
- (Portuguese) Projeto de Resolução 857/XII
- Resolução da Assembleia da República n.º 6-A/2014
- President of the Republic requested from the Constitutional Court the prior investigation of the constitutionality and legality of the proposal for a referendum on the co-adoption and adoption by same gender couples
- (Portuguese) Presidente enviou referendo à coadoção para o Tribunal Constitucional
- RULING No. 176/14 - summary
- (Portuguese) Referendo sobre coadoção é inconstitucional
- (Portuguese) Presidente da República devolve ao parlamento proposta sobre coadoção
- (Portuguese) RESOLUÇÃO DA ASSEMBLEIA DA REPÚBLICA N.º 6-A/2014 - Mensagem do Presidente da República relativa à devolução, sem promulgação, da Resolução por ter sido declarada inconstitucional pelo Tribunal Constitucional
- President of the Republic returned to Parliament the proposal on a referendum on co-adoption and adoption by same gender couples
- Portugal Allows Same-Sex Adoption, Artificial Insemination (New York Times)
- (Portuguese) Projeto de Lei 2/XIII
- (Portuguese) Projeto de Lei 5/XIII
- (Portuguese) Projeto de Lei 28/XIII
- (Portuguese) Projeto de Lei 11/XIII
- (Portuguese) Projeto de Lei 31/XIII
- (Portuguese) Texto Final e Relatório da discussão e votação na especialidade CACDLG
- (Portuguese) Adopção por casais do mesmo sexo aprovada na especialidade
- Adoção por casais do mesmo sexo aprovada. 17 do PSD a favor, Passos não
- Votação final: 17 deputados do PSD votaram a favor da adoção plena
- (Portuguese) Presidente da República devolveu ao Parlamento, para reapreciação, diploma relativo a normas sobre a adoção por casais do mesmo sexo
- Portugal president vetoes bills liberalizing abortion, same-sex adoption
- Portugal's outgoing president vetoes gay adoption bill
- Portugal parliament overturns veto on adoption by gay couples
- Portugal lawmakers overturn veto on gay rights, abortion law
- Lei n.º 2/2016 de 29 de fevereiro
- Catholic Portugal set to legalize gay marriage
- Same-sex marriages hot debate in deeply Catholic Portugal
- (Portuguese) Propõe a realização de um referendo sobre o casamento entre pessoas do mesmo sexo
- Thousands Protest Portugal's Upcoming Gay Marriage Law
- In Portugal, Pope Calls Gay Marriage An 'Insidious' Threat
- Pope says gay marriage is 'insidious and dangerous'
- (Portuguese) Despacho 87/2010
- "Special Eurobarometer 437: Discrimination in the EU in 2015" (PDF). European Commission. October 2015.
- "Eurobarometer 66: Public opinion in the European Union" (PDF). European Commission. December 2006.