Prime Minister Jose Socrates is being pressured to keep his promise to legalise same-sex marriage in Portugal following his re-election.

In February, Socrates, who is also the head of the ruling PS socialist party, said that the predominantly Catholic country should move towards legalising same-sex marriage.

“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 at a rally. A commitment to legalise same-sex marriage was also part of his campaign manifesto.

Socrates, who now returns to power following a successful election battle on the weekend, does face some difficulties.

His party did not secure an outright majority in parliament and he will need the cooperation of other political parties to change the law.

A bill to legalise same-sex marriage failed to pass in parliament in October last year by a wide majority and in August this year the Portuguese Constitutional High Court upheld the country’s ban on same-sex marriage after it was challenged by a lesbian couple.

Portugal legalised civil unions in 2001 while homosexuality was decriminalised in 1982. Neighbouring Spain legalised same-sex marriage in 2005.

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