— Two Portuguese women on Monday became the first couple to enter a
same-sex marriage in the predominantly Catholic country, after
President Anibal Cavaco Silva ratified a law authorizing the practice.
Helena Paixao and Teresa Pires, who had waged a four-year legal battle to be able to marry, tied the knot at a Lisbon registry office while about 30 people applauded.
Cavaco Silva, a practicing Catholic, reluctantly ratified the law just a few days after the mid-May visit to Portugal of Pope Benedict XVI, who criticized homosexual marriage during his stay.
If Cavaco Silva had vetoed the law, his objection would have been overturned by parliament, which approved same-sex marriage in February.
Conservative parties voted against the law, the
opponents of which collected 90,000 signatures of people requesting a
Gay activists see the law as insufficient, mainly because it does not give gay couples the right to adopt children.
Neighboring Spain authorized same-sex marriage in 2005. The Spanish law gives gay couples full marriage rights, including adoption.
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