Portugal’s marriage bill forwarded to Supreme Court

Timothy Kincaid

March 15th, 2010

Portugal’s president, Cavaco Silva, has forwarded the marriage bill to the Supreme Court. (On Top)

Cavaco Silva asked the court to review the constitutionality of 4 out of 5 of the bill’s articles. Article 3, which was not forwarded, would forbid married gay and lesbian couples from adopting children.

The Constitutional Court has already ruled against gay marriage. In a narrow 3-to-2 decision last year, the court denied a lesbian couple the right to marry, despite a provision in the constitution that bans discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

It is difficult to know what this means.

For those who read Portuguese

Braiden

March 15th, 2010

“In a narrow 3-to-2 decision last year, the court denied a lesbian couple the right to marry, despite a provision in the constitution that bans discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.”

If that’s not personal anti-gay bias then I don’t know what is.

Jutta Zalud

March 15th, 2010

As far as I remember last years decision, the question before the court was, whether same-sex marriage *must* be allowed according to the constitution, it was not, if ig *may* be allowed.

Fred in the UK

March 15th, 2010

@Braiden, I have no particular knowledge of the Portuguese Constitutional Court, however many European Constitutional Courts, are reluctant to strike down laws properly passed by national legislative assemblies.

In reply to the original question, I suspect that the President does not want to sign controversial legislation only for it then to be subject to a hearing by the Constitutional Court. I would be interested to know how long the Court will take to respond to the President’s request.

Timothy Kincaid

March 15th, 2010

Jutta,

That was also my thought. If that is the case, this may be simply a method by which Silva justifies signing the bill or allowing it to go into effect.

But I just don’t know enough.

Bruno

March 15th, 2010

The court has up to 25 days to review the requests. It is a different question than last year’s…whether or not the *bill* passed by the legislature is constitutional in its different parts, not whether prohibiting same-sex marriages is unconstitutional. I would guess there are at least 2 votes in favor of the bill’s legality, and most likely more than that.

Hall

March 16th, 2010

He is sending the bill to the supreme court on the basis that a constitutional amendment is needed to change the marriage code, which is the question on the constitutionality of the same-sex marriage bill.

http://dn.sapo.pt/inicio/portugal/interior.aspx?content_id=1520013

It will be interesting to see how this pans out in comparison to the Italian supreme court case on same-sex marriage, considering that they are going to be ruled on at around the same time.

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