Portuguese Parliament says no to gay marriage
rahul | October 10, 2008 at 10:32 pmby
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2008-10-11 06:19:02 - LISBON, Portugal (AP) - Portugal's Parliament voted by a large majority against proposals to allow same-sex marriages in the mostly Roman Catholic country.The governing Socialist Party and the main opposition Social Democratic Party both opposed legalizing gay and lesbian marriages.The proposals came from two minor opposition parties, the Left Bloc and the Green Party, which argued that the Portuguese Constitution grants equal rights for all and protection against discrimination. But the Green Party motion collected only 17 votes in the 230-seat legislature on Friday, and the left Bloc won the support of just 11 lawmakers. Gay marriage is permitted in only three European Union nations _ Belgium, the Netherlands and Spain. The center-left Socialist Party overcame strong opposition from the Catholic church to legalize abortion last year, saying it was part of the Portugal's process of modernization. However, it insisted a change in the marriage law to recognize same-sex couples required a national debate. «A change of this depth and complexity should be made only after a considered discussion and after broad support has built up for it in Portuguese society, inside and outside political parties, so that a clear and unequivocal political undertaking can be given,» the Socialist Party said in a statement. An opinion poll published Friday in the daily newspaper Jornal de Noticias said 53 percent of those who expressed an opinion opposed gay marriage and 42 percent supported it. The Coimbra University poll, which was conducted on Oct. 4 and 5 and included interviews with 1,297 people, had a margin of error of 2.7 percent. Two Portuguese lesbians attempted to marry in 2006 but were turned away by Lisbon registry office officials, who cited a law stipulating that marriage is between two people of different sexes. In an unprecedented case, their legal challenge was rejected by a Lisbon court. Last year they lodged an appeal at the Supreme Court, which is examining their arguments. No date has been set for a decision.
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