“This law rights a wrong,” Prime Minister Jose Socrates said in a speech to lawmakers, adding that it ”simply ends pointless suffering.”
Conservative President Anibal Cavaco Silva is thought unlikely to veto the Socialist government’s bill, which won the support of all left-of-center parties. His ratification would allow the first gay marriage ceremonies to take place in April — a month before Pope Benedict XVI is due on an official visit to Portugal.
Portugal has offered civil unions to same-sex couples since 2001, but they did not provide some key benefits that come with marriage involving pensions, inheritance and the sharing of names. Married same-sex couples still will not be allowed to adopt, so the work continues.