Portugal Supremes Say No to Marriage

Timothy Kincaid

July 31st, 2009

The A/P is reporting:

Teresa Pires and Helena Paixao, divorced mothers in their 30s who have been together as a couple since 2003, were turned away by a Lisbon registry office when they attempted to marry in 2006 because the law stipulates that marriage is between people of different genders.

Portugal’s constitution, however, also forbids discrimination based on sexual orientation. The women took the case to a Lisbon court, which rejected their unprecedented challenge.

After considering their appeal against that decision, the Constitutional Court said in a statement posted on its Web site that the constitution does not state that same-sex marriages must be permitted.

By a 3 to 2 vote, they denied the constitutional right to marriage. However they did not mandate that marriage could not be granted by the legislature. And that is a distinct possibility in the near future.

However, the center-left Socialist Party has included a proposal to permit same-sex marriages in its manifesto for September’s general election. Its chief rival, the center-right Social Democratic Party, opposes the measure. Opinion polls show the two parties are neck-and-neck in voting intentions.

You’d better hurry Portugal or you may be behind Albania.

Burr

July 31st, 2009

Does their constitution say that same-sex marriages must NOT be permitted?

It seems the only logical conclusion in absence of that is to allow it since the non-discrimination clause should take priority.

Ohio Joe

July 31st, 2009

I have read that the Socialists in Portugal (José Socrates’ party) may resolve this legislatively before the appeal to the European court even gets heard. Then again, Socrates’ poll numbers are way down right now, so he may need to survive the next election to do that.

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