TWO PORTUGUESE lesbians, who applied to get married at Lisbon’s Civil Registry Office, had their request denied last week. It was the first time ever in Portugal that a same-sex couple tried to get married officially.
Helena Paixão, 35, and Teresa Pires, 28, vow to continue their fight and will take their case to the Supreme Court. The couple’s solicitor, Luís Rodrigues, said the couple’s attempts to get a marriage licence were turned down one day after it had been officially filed, adding that he had already presented an appeal to the courts anticipating the outcome. Despite the fact that discrimination against Portuguese or any other legal citizens on grounds of race, religion, disability or sexual orientation is prohibited by the Portuguese Constitution, the country’s Civil Code states that legal marriage should be between a man and a woman.
Now, the couple, who have been together for three years, will argue in court that the Civil Code contradicts the Portuguese Constitution, which was changed in 2004 to include a ban on sexual discrimination.