Same-sex marriage in Portugal

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Legal status of same-sex unions
  1. When performed in Mexican states that have legalized same-sex marriage
  2. When performed in the Netherlands proper

* Not yet in effect

LGBT portal

Same-sex marriage has been legal in Portugal since 5 June 2010.[1][2] 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.[3][4] The law was published in the official journal Diário da Republica on 31 May 2010 and became effective on 5 June 2010.[1]

Constitutional Court ruling[edit]

Laws regarding same-sex partnerships in Europe
  Foreign marriages recognized
  Other type of partnership
  Unregistered cohabitation
  Constitution limits marriage to opposite-sex couples

Includes laws that have not yet gone into effect.

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.[5] 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.[6][7]

On 31 July 2009, the Constitutional Court decided on a 3–2 vote that the constitution does not demand the recognition of same-sex marriage,[8][9] but also does not oppose it, and that the decision must be made by the Assembly of the Republic (the Portuguese Parliament).

Legislative action[edit]

The BE and PEV's 2008 bills[edit]

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.[10][11]

The Government's 2009-2010 bill[edit]

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.[12][13][14]

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.[15]

Manuela Ferreira Leite, the leader of the conservative Social Democratic Party, expressed her disapproval on the recognition of same-sex marriage.[16]

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.[17]

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.[18][19][20][21] In mid-October 2009 Jorge Lacão said it would be likely that same-sex marriage would be legalised in early 2010.[22]

On 3 November 2009, José Ribeiro e Castro, a member of the CDS-PP, called for a referendum[23] but the Socialist Party and Left Bloc rejected that idea.[24][25][26][27] 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.[28][29]

On 17 December 2009, the Government approved the same-sex marriage bill.[30][31]

On 8 January 2010, after a debate, which included the intervention of the Prime Minister,[32][33][34] the Portuguese Parliament passed the bill establishing same-sex marriage in its first reading.[35][36] On 10 February, the Constitutional Affairs Committee of Parliament approved the bill.[37] The final parliamentary vote took place on 11 February, with the bill being approved.[38][39] On 24 February 2010, the Constitutional Affairs Committee sent the bill to the Portuguese President Aníbal Cavaco Silva.[40][41]

On 13 March 2010, the President asked the Constitutional Court to verify whether the bill was constitutional.[42][43] 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.[44][45][46][47] The ruling was published in the official gazette on 28 April, giving President Aníbal Cavaco Silva twenty days to sign, or veto, the bill.[48][49]

On 17 May 2010, the President signed the bill.[50][51] The law was published in Diário da República on 31 May 2010 and became effective on 5 June 2010.[1][2] On 7 June Teresa Pires and Helena Paixão became the first lesbian same-sex couple to marry in Portugal.[52][53]

Same-sex adoption bills[edit]

On 24 February 2012, the parliament rejected two bills allowing same-sex couples to adopt children.[54][55]

However, on 17 May 2013, the Parliament passed a law allowing same-sex married couples to adopt their partner's children (i.e. step-child adoption). A law allowing full joint adoption was defeated on a 104-77 vote.[56]

On 20 November 2015, adoption by same-sex couples was approved by parliament. [57]


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.[58][59]

On 8 January 2010, the parliament rejected a motion calling to the national referendum about same-sex marriage.[60] In February, 5,000 people demonstrated against legalization of same-sex marriage in a march in Lisbon.[61]

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".[62][63]

Marriage norms[edit]

On 19 July 2010, Instituto dos Registos e do Notariado published the following rules on marriage:[64]

- 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 not recognized in Portugal.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c (Portuguese) Lei n.º 9/2010 de 31 de Maio Permite o casamento civil entre pessoas do mesmo sexo
  2. ^ a b (Portuguese) Segunda-feira já vai ser possível celebrar casamentos entre pessoas do mesmo sexo
  3. ^ 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. 
  4. ^ Portugal's president to ratify same-sex marriage law
  5. ^ Portugal blocks lesbian marriage
  6. ^ (Portuguese) Pareceres de personalidades sustentam alegações de recurso entregue no TConstitucional
  7. ^ (Portuguese) "Quero-as casadas na Primavera"
  8. ^ Portugal Gay Marriage Ban Upheld By Court
  9. ^ Portugal’s Constitutional Court Rejects Challenge To Same-Sex Marriage Ban
  10. ^ Portugal Says No to Gay Marriage
  11. ^ Portugal's Parliament Votes Against Gay Marriage
  12. ^ Leader of Portuguese Ruling Party Seeks to Create Homosexual "Marriage" in Portugal
  13. ^ Portugal May Be Next in Line for Gay Marriage
  14. ^ (Portuguese) Sócrates quer casamento gay e referendo à regionalização
  15. ^ (Portuguese) Casamentos na próxima legislatura
  16. ^ (Portuguese) Ferreira Leite admite discriminar casais 'gay'
  17. ^ Same-sex marriage campaign launched in Portugal
  18. ^ (Portuguese) BE disponível para aprovar a curto prazo casamento homossexual
  19. ^ (Portuguese) Casamentos gay: BE já entregou diploma para legalização
  20. ^ (Portuguese) BE avança hoje com casamento homossexual
  21. ^ Portugal to legalize same-sex marriage
  22. ^ (Portuguese) Portugal: Casamento gay já durante o próximo ano ?
  23. ^ (Portuguese) Casamentos homossexuais: Ribeiro e Castro quer referendo
  24. ^ (Portuguese) Sócrates rejeita referendo sobre casamentos homossexuais
  25. ^ (Portuguese) Casamentos entre homossexuais avançam
  26. ^ (Portuguese) BE acha "descabido" referendo sobre casamentos homossexuais
  27. ^ (Portuguese) Sócrates rejeita referendo sobre casamentos gay
  28. ^ (Portuguese) PS recusa referendo e afasta adopção
  29. ^ (Portuguese) PS impõe disciplina de voto no casamento homossexual
  30. ^ Portugal tipped to allow gay marriage
  31. ^ Portuguese govt aims to permit gay marriage
  32. ^ (Portuguese) Apresentação da Proposta de Lei do casamento civil entre pessoas do mesmo sexo
  33. ^ "Portugal's Prime Minister: Gay marriage fundamental to equality". (Croatia). 2010-01-08. Retrieved 2010-01-08. 
  34. ^ "Portuguese Government debates legalisation of gay marriage". Demotix. 2010-01-08. Retrieved 2010-01-08. 
  35. ^ "Same-sex marriage law backed in Portugal's parliament". BBC. 2010-01-08. Retrieved 2010-01-08. 
  36. ^ "Portugal MPs approve gay marriage". RTÉ News. 2010-01-08. Retrieved 2010-01-08. 
  37. ^ (Portuguese) Casamento homossexual: diploma aprovado sem alterações na especialidade
  38. ^ Portuguese Lawmakers Approve Gay Marriage Bill
  39. ^ Gay marriage approved by the Portuguese Parliament
  40. ^ Portugal's Gay Marriage Bill Receives Final Approval
  41. ^ (Portuguese) Casamento gay: redacção final do diploma aprovada
  42. ^ Portugal Gay Marriage Bill Forwarded To Constitutional Court
  43. ^ (Portuguese) Tribunal Constitucional vai fiscalizar casamento homossexual
  44. ^ (Portuguese) Comunicado de 8 de Abril de 2010
  45. ^ (Portuguese) ACÓRDÃO N.º 121/2010
  46. ^ Portugal's Constitutional Court OKs Gay Marriage
  47. ^ Portuguese High Court Approve Same-Sex Marriage Law
  48. ^ 20 Days To Decide On Gay Marriage In Portugal
  49. ^ (Portuguese) Acórdão que dá luz verde ao casamento gay publicado hoje em Diário da República
  50. ^ Pope leaves, Portuguese President signs gay marriage pact
  51. ^ Lawmakers In Portugal Legalize Gay Marriage
  52. ^ Portugal lesbian couple in nation's first gay marriage
  53. ^ Lesbian couple Teresa Pires and Helena Paixao wed in Portugal
  54. ^ Gay rights: Lawmakers defeat adoption bill for couples
  55. ^ Portugal rejects that gay couples can adopt
  56. ^ Portugal Expands Adoption Rights for Gay Couples
  57. ^ [1]
  58. ^ Catholic Portugal set to legalize gay marriage
  59. ^ Same-sex marriages hot debate in deeply Catholic Portugal
  60. ^ (Portuguese) Propõe a realização de um referendo sobre o casamento entre pessoas do mesmo sexo
  61. ^ Thousands Protest Portugal's Upcoming Gay Marriage Law
  62. ^ In Portugal, Pope Calls Gay Marriage An 'Insidious' Threat
  63. ^ Pope says gay marriage is 'insidious and dangerous'
  64. ^ (Portuguese) Despacho 87/2010