After fierce opposition from conservatives, including Pope Benedict, Portuguese President Anibal Cavaco Silva announced today that he will sign a bill legalizing same-sex marriage, making Portugal the sixth European nation to allow gay marriage. Silva, who is a conservative Roman Catholic, stated that he put aside his “personal convictions” in coming to a decision about the bill. Though the country is nearly 90 percent Catholic, Portugal’s Parliament, which approved the gay marriage bill earlier this year, is majority left-of-center. A veto by President Silva would have sent the bill back to Parliament, where lawmakers would have overturned the president’s veto, thus approving the law.

Closer to home, three same-sex couples in Minnesota are challenging that state’s Defense of Marriage Act. The couples, which form the group called Marry Me Minnesota, argue that the state is in violation of their constitutional marriage rights and are seeking a court order that would force the state to issue marriage licenses to gay couples. The couples further argue that the 1997 ban on gay marriage was passed illegally and violates Minnesota’s constitutional “single-subject” rule that requires separate votes for multiple pieces of legislation. Minnesota’s leading gay activist group, OutFront Minnesota opposes the lawsuit, stating that its chances of success are extremely low and could potentially stifle their own efforts to get gay marriage laws passed. The plaintiffs have stated that they are tired of waiting for marriage equality.