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international news: gay marriage in portugal

OMG Portugal on BBC World Service! Just when I’ve been saying it’s like the New Zealand of Europe here, all quiet and inoffensive, there she goes all crazy and radical and free loving! The Parliament here voted on Friday to permit gay marriage in Portugal. Thank god they avoided the embarrassment of a public referendum, where the idea surely would’ve sunk like towels at a Sydney sauna. The economy certainly doesn’t need any ‘no’ votes at this point and a bit of garage tourism (gay+marriage = garage. Good eh?) could be just the sport. Them gay peeps with their disposible incomes and their gayness – mixing it up here in wouldn’t-know-the-difference, and golly-we-need-cheering-up Portugal. Yay. Just don’t try kissing in front of the police, advise Teresa & Lena, the lezzos who started it all. What kind of cops don’t like watching girls kiss? What the?

jose socrates prime minister portugal

Speaking of puckering up – here’s Zézito. The too-cute-for-his-own-good prime minister, José Socrates (who wouldn’t vote for guy called Socrates?) is the man behind this radically democratic idea of letting people do what they want so long as it doesn’t hurt anybody. The bill still has to be reviewed by a committee, avoid veto by the super conservative party-pooping president and face another round of votes in the parliament. The papers are saying maybe a rainbow-coloured dance party in April. Standby for Dykes on Bikes on the Avenida da Liberdade. Vroom.

Back when my neighbour and I were more neighbourly we shared the following exchange on the subject.

Him: Same sex marriage blah blah. What I’d like to know is: who does it benefit?
Me: Them. Just them. No one else. 10% of the population. Two people in this village. That’s all. Practically noone.
Him: Huh?
Me: Well, here in this village it’s only 10%, in Sydney it’s more like 50%!
Him: Huh? Who?
Me: Yeah, anyway, I think should they say no. No to all marriage. Seriously, there should be more government control over who can get married. It just shouldn’t be allowed.
Him: Huh?
Me: Well look at the murder rate! Another one dead yesterday …”violençia domestica”.
Him: Er, yeah, ha, ha. I just think marriage should be just for one purpose.
Me: Yeah, like, for sex.
Him: No, no, we have sex outside marriage in Portugal. I mean for children.
Me: Oh, yeah, if a couple don’t have children they should get divorced. And no one over 45 should be allowed to get married. And those couples with fertility issues… Divorced. The government should make sure that everyone has children. Lots of children.
Him: Erm, no, I mean…I don’t know why we are discussing same sex marriage when there are so many important things they should be arguing about.
Me: I agree! What with the “Threat From Al-Qaeda” they must be more important issues on the agenda. Some people want to marry each other! Do we really need to even hear about it?
Him: Yeah! I don’t even want to hear about it!
Me: That’s right, they should just pass the bill and get onto more important things.
Him: Huh?
Me: They should just pass the bill and let us all get on with our lives.
Him: Yeah, pass the bill and let us get on with our lives. Right!
Me: Yeah!
Him: Yeah!

Discussing the issue with the Women’s Group Neighbours (plus one silent husband, he doesn’t count apparently) I pointed out that it was not about Gay marriage, but Same Sex marriage, as it is called in the Prtgse media.

WGN: Oh yeah?
Me: You know, for people like me.
WGN: Huh?
Me: You wouldn’t mind if I got married, would you? I need a wife over there. Someone to keep the place clean, do the cooking, warm up the bed…
WGN: Yeah that’s true.
Me: So if this bill gets passed I could just get married to a friend and she could come and stay. It would be great. She’d inherit everything, if I died…
WGN: Well, if you don’t have kids…
Me: Exactly. You wouldn’t want everything going to my terrible cousins…
WGN: No, of course, it’s good that you give it to your friend then.
Me: And she could sleep in my bed, and…
WGN: Woooah there… steady on… giggle giggle…
Me: But I sleep with the cat and you don’t mind. What’s the difference? Why can’t I marry one of the pets? That’s what will be next here you know. Like in America.
WGN: Huh? What?
Me: …and Australia, and England. Everyone marrying their own dog and stuff.
Silent Husband: Yeah I saw that on the TV. Yeah. It’s true, they do that over there…

I try to amuse myself. God help me if they ever learn English… or how to use the internet… I’m a dead man/girl/person!


  1. Isabel January 16, 2010 3:45 am Reply

    I must say that if you invented THESE conversations (you wouldn’t, would you???), you have nailed the Portuguese down to a T.

    I remember the first referendum on abortion (that failed to pass because it was voted in the first sunday of glorious weather and all but the most committed pro-lifers headed for the beach… at least that’s my theory and I stick to it): TV was interviewing people coming out of mass and a middle-age lady answered that she was going to vote NO (as predictable) and when pressed about her reasons answered “It is a personal question that people should decide according to their conscience”.

    (My people, my people…)

    [Reply to comment]

    Emma   Reply: January 16th, 2010 at 6:05 am

    They are real conversations with real people. I did translate them though… roughly. 🙂 and I should have given you a credit! No, two credits! Zézito / too-cute-for-his-own-good is Isabel’s genuis wit everyone!

    [Reply to comment]

    Joey   Reply: January 31st, 2010 at 8:55 pm

    Oh dear Emma (and Isabel), when I saw the picture of Jose I realised my sneaky Portuguese boyfriend has been holding out on me. When I was asking about the elections last year it was all… blah, blah, blah…Portuguese politians are liars… you can’t trust ’em Joey, oh look over there a cork tree!

    Never once did he say check out the too-cute-for-his-own-good PRIME MINISTER!!!

    Saw the article in the Sunday Tele today. Sounds like you are living the life most of us think we would like to live but never get around to. Good for you girly.


    [Reply to comment]

    Emma   Reply: February 1st, 2010 at 1:57 am

    “Oh look over there a cork tree!” :))) Yeah if you saw Socrates, then you might have noticed Francisco Louça, (not quite as pretty but his mind looks like george clooney) THEN there would’ve been trouble – “oh darling can we go hang outside parliament today? No come on, it’ll be fun!”

    [Reply to comment]

    Emma   Reply: January 19th, 2010 at 11:28 pm

    oh, my people, my people!

    [Reply to comment]

  2. Isabel January 16, 2010 7:08 am Reply

    Bill’s take on your conversations with your neighbours: it takes an idiot to raise a village :-)))

    [Reply to comment]

    Emma   Reply: January 18th, 2010 at 1:34 am

    Oh now I’m in more trouble!

    [Reply to comment]

  3. Isabel January 16, 2010 9:51 pm Reply
  4. Eliane January 17, 2010 3:58 am Reply

    wow, socrates reminds me very much of that very handsome and influential mayor of berlin who is married to —— a man.

    [Reply to comment]

    Emma   Reply: January 18th, 2010 at 12:49 am

    Stop spreading rumours – he’s mine! Are you from Sydney or what? Just cos he’s cute, doesn’t mean he’s gay! He’s a socialist! That’s pink enough… 😉

    [Reply to comment]

    Ana Teresa   Reply: February 18th, 2010 at 5:28 am

    @Emma, eh eh eh….

    [Reply to comment]


  5. Paulo Reis January 17, 2010 9:53 am Reply

    BUNCH OF POOFTERS, if they like it let them do it … but no children involved , no adoption…

    [Reply to comment]

    Emma   Reply: January 18th, 2010 at 12:46 am

    I see… you can be an aussie bloke when you want to! Yeah – to hell with the children waiting for adoption, rotting away in forgotten orphanages; all weird for lack of nutrician, love, education…. sorry, there I go again… in fact even in the 80’s I went to school with kids of poofs and not only were they perfectly abnormal but none of the other kids had a problem with the idea. Personally, in theory, I would prefer two dads any day over daddy beating the shit out of mummy every night. So stick that up ya Paulo!! 🙂 And you’d better be adopting some poor babies today! 🙂

    [Reply to comment]

    PAULO REIS   Reply: January 19th, 2010 at 5:32 pm

    Ok Emma let’s make peace …

    [Reply to comment]

    PAULO REIS   Reply: January 19th, 2010 at 8:42 pm

    Ok Emma, what will prevent two daddies to beat the shit out of each other in front of a kid or do poofs not fight? Not all hetro marriages live with violence.

    [Reply to comment]

    Emma   Reply: January 19th, 2010 at 11:25 pm

    Of course, you’re right. It just makes me laugh when people argue “sanctity of marriage” or “damage to society”, as though marriage in portugal is perfect. Paz, man (that’s not pash, although that would be a funny sign off – a porty signed off “worm regards” to me once 🙂

    [Reply to comment]

  6. Rodrigo January 17, 2010 6:06 pm Reply

    ”I gotta grudge!”
    A ‘grudge’ is where a Portuguese parks his car.

    [Reply to comment]

    Emma   Reply: January 18th, 2010 at 12:38 am

    Nice. Random… but nice. 🙂

    [Reply to comment]

  7. mariam. January 18, 2010 11:12 pm Reply

    Cor, I still cannot believe this same sex marriage thing passed at the Assembleia …

    I was having lunch with a friend at a very nice restaurant on thet firday and he said matter of factly ” the bill for same sex marriage passed” – he was facing the TV screen ( yes yes I know, but even nice restaurants have flaws ). He carried on chomping on his bacalhau. Then we both said at the same time – There’s still the presidential vote missing…. – but we don’t feel he will not sign, as long as CHILDREN are not involved – thus the “no adoption allowed” clause, for now.

    [Reply to comment]

    Emma   Reply: January 19th, 2010 at 11:17 pm

    yes it’s been a very mellow reaction, which cavaco should note. And probably a wise move to leave out adoption for the time being. Change – make it slowly, make it gently…

    [Reply to comment]

  8. Isabel January 21, 2010 7:18 pm Reply

    So young, and already so Portuguese…

    ” … the declaration of the child in the classroom: “I have two fathers and they are gay.” The teacher responded that they would talk about families another day and his schoolmates told him he did not need to tell it.”


    [Reply to comment]

  9. Dee Hawa January 31, 2010 1:26 am Reply

    Well, well there you go Emma, made and old lady very happy!Had to polished my glassed twice to properly check out the Socrates
    chappie, as they had steamed up!
    Quite made my day… now where did I put those blood pressure tablets?…
    As far as the same sex marriage thingy, it’s rampant down here on the old costa lotta Spain,and all’s well..you guys are playing catch up…


    [Reply to comment]

    Emma   Reply: February 1st, 2010 at 2:07 am

    hey dee! I know, you’re in civilised spain… it’s like portugal is beyond the frontier, the wild west… Rampant marriage! Who would imagine such a thing? That’s just what we need here, a bit of rampantness!

    [Reply to comment]

  10. Marie February 8, 2010 9:42 pm Reply

    Dear Emma, its my first visit to your blogue and i loved it! Good girl, learning portuguese so quickly and understand portuguese politics and last but not least … having a good taste on men, Zézito Sócrates is indeed a very handsome guy! Continue enjoying Portugal and writing about your life in that beautiful country. I have been to Australia before and there are similarities between the two countries. I find Alentejo very much like some parts of Australia.

    [Reply to comment]

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