Catholic Portugal to Legalize Gay Marriage

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Gay marriage may soon be legalized in the European nation of Portugal with new legislation expected to be approved on Friday.

Portugal is considered one of Europe's more socially conservative Catholic countries.

But a poll conducted last year by the Eurosondagem institute shows that the Portuguese are divided over gay marriage, with 49.5 percent against and 45.5 percent in favor.

However, a petition with more than 90,000 signatures demanding a referendum was given to parliament on Tuesday.

Both the government and the Catholic Church want the issue resolved before Pope Benedict XVI's visit to Portugal this May.

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