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Portugal Prepares to Legalize Marriage

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Portugal, one of Europe's most Catholic and socially conservative countries, is expected to approve a marriage equality bill on Friday, Agence France-Presse reports. The proposal, which is benefiting from the fact that the governing Socialists share a strong majority in parliament with other left-wing parties, is expected to sail through the first reading and gain final approval before Pope Benedict XVI visits the country in May. A parliamentary commission must also consider it before it comes back to parliament for a final vote.

"I think the Portuguese people have learned one of the fundamental tenets of democracy: respect for the rights of the individual," Miguel Vale de Almeida, Portugal's first openly gay lawmaker, told AFP.

Read the full AFP story here.

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