The leader of Portugal’s ruling party, Jose Socrates, has said that the country should move towards legalising same-sex marriage.

Socrates, head of the PS socialist party was quoted at a rally last month as saying that he supports gay marriage rights.

“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,” he said.

“As far as I know, after doing this in our country, we won’t be the last to do so. I also want to say that the values that inspire us when we propose this change to the Portuguese people are the values that have always been in the heart of the PS.”

A bill to legalise same-sex marriage failed to pass in parliament in October last year by a wide majority.

Portugal, which is a predominantly Roman Catholic nation, already legalised civil unions in 2001. Homosexuality was decriminalised in 1982

Neighbouring Spain legalised same-sex marriage in 2005.

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