Gay weddings not a priority for election campaign

GOVERNING PS party has said it cannot guarantee that the issue of gay weddings will be in its election campaign manifesto for 2009.

The project, advanced by both the Bloco de Esquerda and PEV (Green) parties, was rejected by ruling socialist deputies in the Portuguese Parliament on Friday by a majority. Only around 15 deputies from all parties voted in favour and most abstained.

The left-wing Bloco de Esquerda proposes civil weddings for homosexuals with full adoptive rights, whereas the Greens propose that adoption can only be carried out by married couples – gay or otherwise – who have been married for at least four years and who are over the age of 25.

Both the PS and opposition PSD parties believe that with the current global financial crisis, the ordinary Portuguese citizen has other concerns such as their job security, their pensions and savings, health, education and the overall state of the economy.

However, another reason may well be that the issue is a hot potato for any government since Portuguese society, still intensely conservative and catholic in nature, may not be ready for such legislation. Research from university sociologists carried out this year showed that a high percentage of the population thought that relationships between people of the same sex were wrong.

Paulo Corte-Real, spokesman for gay rights organisation ILGA, Intervenção Lésbica, Gay, Bissexual e Transgénero, told The Resident: “We were both disappointed and shocked since the Portuguese Constitution is the only one in Europe that expressely forbids sexual discrimination because of one’s sexual orientation.

“For us the issue is a very simple one. It’s about taking out the words ‘opposite sex’ with regards to marriage in the law but I think the ruling PS Party was worried that it might be a vote loser in the next election,” he said.

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