Portugal's President Approves Gay Marriage

By Advocate.com Editors

Originally published on Advocate.com May 17 2010 4:10 PM ET

The president of Portugal announced Monday that he is ratifying a law allowing same-sex marriage in the predominantly Catholic country, setting aside “personal convictions” so the country can focus on other, more important issues.

Parliament passed the gay marriage bill in January. If President Anibal Cavaco Silva were to veto the bill, it would head back to parliament, where lawmakers could override his decision.

"Given that fact, I feel I should not contribute to a pointless extension of this debate, which would only serve to deepen the divisions between the Portuguese and divert the attention of politicians away from the grave problems affecting us," Cavaco Silva said Monday in a nationally televised address.

The enactment of the bill makes Portugal the sixth European country to allow same-sex marriage.