By Thaddeus M. Baklinski

LISBON, July 31, 2009 ( – Portugal's Constitutional Court today reaffirmed the country's definition of marriage as between one man and one woman.

Judges ruled 3-2 against two lesbians who attempted to use a constitutional loophole to challenge the law.

Teresa Pires and Helena Paixao, both of whom have children and are divorced, were turned away from a registry office in Lisbon in 2006 when they attempted to “marry” and were told the law stipulates that marriage is between people of different genders.

The lesbians filed a complaint in a Lisbon court in 2006 but the case was rejected.

The two then challenged that ruling on the grounds that Portugal's constitution forbids discrimination based on sexual orientation.

However, after considering their appeal, the Constitutional Court also rejected the case and said in a statement posted on its website that the constitution does not state that same-sex “marriages” must be permitted.

AP reports that the lesbians intend to take their legal battle to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, France.

Acceptance of same-sex “marriage” and homosexual “rights” has met with resistance from religious groups and conservative politicians in this predominantly Roman Catholic country.

A recent Eurobarometer survey shows that 70% of Portuguese surveyed reject same-sex “marriage” and 80% disapprove the idea of homosexual couples adopting children.

Earlier this year, the leader of Portugal's ruling Socialist Party, Jose Socrates, announced his support for homosexual “marriage,” sparking controversy and protest throughout the country and within the Socialist Party (PS) itself.

“This is the moment for the PS, in its national congress, to affirm its desire to propose to Portuguese society the right to civil marriage for people of the same sex,” said Socrates in a political speech at the Belem Cultural Center in January.

Mario Soares, former President of Portugal and a founder of the Socialist Party, reacted negatively to Socrates' comments, stating that “homosexual marriages are complicated questions of conscience … but there are certain radicals who want to move forward [with it] to show that they are leftist.”

Portugal's Parliament, however, voted by a large majority last year against proposals tabled by smaller parties to allow same-sex “marriages.” The Socialist Party said at the time the issue needed further study.

See related LSN articles:

Leader of Portuguese Ruling Party Seeks to Create Homosexual “Marriage” in Portugal

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