The parliament of Portugal, one of the most "socially conservative" nations in Europe, passed a marriage equality bill, reports Reuters:
Prime Minister Jose Socrates said was an historic step in the country's fight against discrimination. The bill gives gay marriages the same rights as heterosexual marriages, including those on taxes, inheritance and housing, but does not offer them the right to adopt children. The bill now needs to be ratified by conservative President Anibal Cavaco Silva. If he approves it, Portugal will join Spain, Belgium, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, South Africa and Canada in allowing gay marriages, all of which allow gay married couples to adopt children as well."
And this unexpected response from the Roman Catholic Church:
In contrast to Spain, where the run-up to the legalisation of gay marriage in 2005 brought hundreds of thousands of demonstrators onto the streets, the bill in Portugal provoked only muted opposition even from the political right... While normally vocal on the role of marriage and the family in society, the Catholic Church refused to mobilise on the issue, which Lisbon's Cardinal Patriarch Jose Policarpo said was "parliament's responsibility".
Separation of church and state. What a concept. Bravo to Portugal for choosing equality.