(Angus Reid Global Monitor) – People in Portugal are divided in their opinion of same-sex marriage, according to a poll by Eurosondagem published in Express. 49.5 per cent of respondents oppose marriages between people of the same sex, while 45.5 per cent favour them.

Regarding adoption by same-sex couples, 68.4 per cent of respondents oppose this notion, whereas 21.7 per cent support it.

The Socialist Party (PS) won the February 2005 parliamentary ballot, garnering 45.3 per cent of the vote and electing 121 lawmakers to the 230-seat Assembly of the Republic. Socialist leader Jose Socrates took over as prime minister in March.

In the September 2009 election, the Socialists secured 36.6 per cent of the vote and 97 seats, earning a minority mandate. Socrates was ratified as prime minister.

Homosexuality was considered as a crime in Portugal until 1982. In 2001, the country allowed same-sex couples to be registered as civil unions, with specific legal, tax and property rights.

On Jan. 8, the Assembly of the Republic voted 125-99 to legalize same-sex marriage in Portugal. The bill modifies existing legislation, and states that marriage is between "two people" and not "two people of different genders." It will come into effect as soon as it is signed into law by Portuguese president Anibal Cavaco Silva.

After the vote, Socrates declared: "I am of a generation—as we all are—which is not proud of the way it treated homosexuals. (…) It’s a slight change to the law, it’s true. But it is a very important and symbolic step towards fully ensuring respect for values that are essential in any democratic, open and tolerant society: the values of freedom, equality and non-discrimination."

Same-sex marriage is currently legal in the Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Canada, South Africa, Norway and Sweden. At least 20 countries offer some form of legal recognition to same-sex unions.

Polling Data

Do you favour or oppose same-sex marriage?

Favour

45.5%

Oppose

49.5%

Do you favour or oppose adoption by same-sex couples?

Favour

21.7%

Oppose

68.4%

Source: Eurosondagem / Expresso
Methodology: Telephone interviews with 1,030 Portuguese adults, conducted from Oct. 29 to Nov. 3, 2009. Margin of error is 3 per cent.