Friday, January 08, 2010

Portugal Goes For Marriage Equality

Portugal, one of Europe's most socially conservative and Catholic countries, is expected to approve the legalisation of gay marriage tomorrow with little muss or fuss.

Since the Socialist party, and other so-called left-wing parties, in the majority, the marriage equality law is expected to sail through the first reading debate and gain final approval before a visit by Pope Benedict XVI, due in Portugal in May.

Won't she be happy.

In contrast to Spain, where the lead-up to marriage equality legalisation in 2005 saw hundreds of thousands of demonstrators take to the streets, the bill in Portugal has provoked only muted opposition, even from the right.

While normally vocal on the role of marriage and the family in society, the Catholic Church has refused to mobilise on a subject which, according to Lisbon's Cardinal Patriarch Jose Policarpo, is "parliament's responsibility".

Wait. A Catholic Cardinal says that laws regarding the citizens should be left to the parliament and not to churches. Get that man a ticket to America.

"I think the Portuguese people have learnt one of the fundamental tenets of democracy: respect for the rights of the individual," said Miguel Vale de Almeida, Portugal's first openly-gay lawmaker. Vale de Almeida, the Socialists' pointman on the legislation, said there is now a political majority in favour of gay marriage and that it is "too simplistic to link Catholicism and conservatism."

A fundamental tenet of democracy is to respect the rights of the individual. Beautiful.

And while the Portuguese people are equally split on the idea of marriage equality, 49% against, 45% for, they are still strongly against gay adoptions. But, I think, in time they will see that gay parents are no different, no better, no worse, than straight parents.

Congratulations Portugal for taking a giant leap into the future.


Ultra Dave said...

Astounding isn't?

Anonymous said...

Well, paint me purple! The Catholic church is keeping it's nose out? That's nearly unheard of. Wait a minute...what's that I smell? Ah, yes, the delicious smell of a paradigm shift. Let's hope it sticks.

Kyle said...

I was delighted by this event Bob. Seems like most of western Europe is well ahead of us now.