Just in via Joe.My.God:
The head of state's decision to permit the enactment of a bill passed by Parliament in January makes Portugal the sixth European country allowing same-sex couples to wed. President Anibal Cavaco Silva said in a nationally televised address he regretted that the country's political parties had failed to reach a compromise during days of heated debate in Parliament four months ago. Vetoing the bill would only send it back to Parliament where lawmakers would overturn his decision, he said, adding that the country needed to focus on overcoming an economic crisis that has increased unemployment and deepened poverty. The Socialist government's bill was backed by all of Portugal's left-of-center parties, who together have a majority in Parliament. Right-of-center parties opposed the measure and demanded a national referendum. "Given that fact, I feel I should not contribute to a pointless extension of this debate, which would only serve to deepen the divisions between the Portuguese and divert the attention of politicians away from the grave problems affecting us," Cavaco Silva said. He said that, in ratifying the law, he was setting aside "personal convictions."