Portugal expands gay equality

Pride Source (U.S.A.) - 27-09-2007

por Rex Wockner

Portugal's new penal code, which took effect Sept. 15, includes several new laws concerning sexual orientation, PortugalGay.PT reported.

Same-sex couples are now treated the same as opposite-sex couples in areas such as domestic violence, murder (the penalty is higher if the victim is one's partner) and obstruction of justice (the penalty is lower when one is protecting a partner).

The code also enhances the penalty for murders committed because of a victim's sexual orientation, and criminalizes the organizing, assisting or promoting of group actions that "foment discrimination" based on sexual orientation, under penalty of one to eight years in prison.

It also makes it illegal to "promote ... violence against a person or group of persons based on sexual orientation" in the media or on the Internet, under penalty of six months to five years in prison.

The code also equalizes the age at which it is legal to have sex -- 14, if there is no "abuse of inexperience"; 16, otherwise -- and the laws on sexual abuse.

The maximum penalty for any crime in Portugal is 25 years in prison.

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