Two women in Portugal have lost their court appeal to allow them to marry.
Teresa Pires and Helena Paixao first began their bid to wed back in 2006. That is when they were denied the right to marry in a civil registry office. Since then they’ve been trying to overturn the decision using an article of the constitution which bans discrimination based on sexual orientation. The subject looks like becoming a talking point in September’s general election. Spain, Belgium, the Netherlands and Sweden all allow Gay marriage, while other EU countries such as the UK, France and Germany recognise civil partnerships. Back in October 2008 a proposal to legalise same sex marriage was put before Portugal’s parliament by an extreme left wing MP but was rejected by the Socialist party majority. However yesterday’s ruling by Portugal’s constitutional court was not unanimous and today the Socialists believe this reflects a gradual change of public opinion in the Catholic country. They have now included allowing same sex marriage in their election manifesto.