Portuguese government proposes legalization of gay marriage
Portugal's Socialist government on Thursday approved draft legislation that would legalize homosexual marriage in the Roman Catholic country, dpa reported.
The law, which needs to first be approved by parliament, would not allow homosexual couples to adopt children, a government spokesman said.
Portuguese bishops' conference president Jorge Ortiga said society needed to reflect on gay marriage, stressing it was not enough for Prime Minister Jose Socrates to have included it among his electoral pledges.
Church representatives have called for a referendum on the issue.
Gay rights association Pink Panthers accused the government of only allowing gays to conduct "second-class marriages" because the draft law excluded the right to adopt children.
In neighbouring Spain, which is also a predominantly Catholic country, homosexuals have been granted full marriage rights including adoption.