PORTUGAL: The Associated Press is reporting that Portugal is the latest country to follow in the footsteps of South Africa, Sweden, Norway, Spain and Netherlands, Canada and Belgium, along with U.S. states, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Vermont, Iowa, Washington D.C. and New Hampshire in allowing gay marriage and divorce. He said it was the “ethical” thing to do. The Portuguese seem in favor of the law by and large.
Socialist Party spokesman Vitalino Canas welcomed the president’s decision.
“This is a memorable moment,” he said. “This is a great step forward for us politically and as a society.”
Antonio Serzedelo, the president of lobby group Opus Gay, congratulated the head of state for placing “ethical responsibility above personal opinions.”
Portugal is nearly 90 percent Catholic. However, only around 2 million of its 10.6 million people describe themselves as practicing Catholics and Portugal has drifted away from the church’s teachings.
The current Socialist government has defied the church before. It passed a law in 2007 allowing abortion. The following year, it introduced a law allowing divorce even if one of the spouses objected. It has argued that the legislation is part of Portugal’s “modernization.”
The new law removes the previous legal stipulation that marriage is between two people of different sexes.
Portugal’s Constitutional Court validated the bill’s legality last month. Read more from the Associated Press.