Well done Portugal!
Nader Fekri - Lib Dem Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Keighley and Ilkley - asks in his blog today: what do these countries have in common, Belgium; Canada; the Netherlands; Norway; South Africa; Spain; Sweden? No? Well they're the only countries that where the legal status of same-sex marriages are exactly those of opposite-sex marriages. And to that magnificient bunch is soon to be added Portugal
That's right Portugal, which along with Spain is a predominantly Roman Catholic Country... which, along with Spain, was until recently (well 1974) under the yoke of a corrupt and inefficient fascist dictatorship.
1974, great year to get rid of fascists first Portugal in the spring, and then Greece in the autumn. In the former there was a junior officers' coup led by the charismatic Major Otelo Saraiva de Carvalho. There's a really good film that captures the atmosphere well, it came out a few years back and is called Capitães de Abril, well worth looking up on dvd.
Anyway, I've always had a soft spot for Portugal since then (pace Eusebio and the '66 World Cup side).
What made the Portuguese Revolution of '74 even more special for me was the role of the Eurovision Song Contest. I see your brows furrowed even as you read this.
The signal for the tanks to roll out of the barracks was the airing of the song E Depois do Adeus by Paulo de Carvalho, Portugal's entry in the ESC held in Brighton that year. How cool is that? Who says that Eurovision doesn't matter, Sir Terry?
Back to the vote in the Portuguese parliament, which was supported by all progressive parties and forces in the country, in the words of Premier Jose Socrates, "This law rights a wrong... and simply ends pointless suffering".
I look forward to the same decision being made by parliament in this country, and the half-way house of second class "civil partnership" to be replaced by marriage and equal rights for ALL of our citizens, irrespective of sexual preference.