By Neal Broverman

Originally published on Advocate.com December 17 2009 1:50 PM ET

The Roman Catholic nation of Portugal may soon become the sixth European country to legalize same-sex marriage.

A marriage equality proposal, supported by the majority party in parliament, is wending its way through the Socialist government, reports the Associated Press. If passed by parliament, which looks likely, the legislation will be sent to the nation's conservative president, Anibal Cavaco Silva (pictured) — if he vetoes the bill, parliament can override his decision.

The proposal will most likely be debated by lawmakers in January, and if passed, will allow gay marriages in April — just weeks before the pope arrives in Portugal for a four-day official visit.

Currently, European nations that allow gay marriage include Belgium, Holland, Norway, Spain, and Sweden.

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