A lesbian couple have become the first same-sex couple to legally tie the knot in Portugal.

Helena Paixo and Teresa Pires married at a Lisbon registry office last Monday.

The two women, both in their 30s, have children from previous relationships and have been together since 2003.

“This is a great victory, a dream come true … Now we’re a family, that’s the important thing,” Pires told reporters after the ceremony.

Same-sex marriage became legal on May 17 after the Portuguese Parliament passed legislation in January.

President Anibal Cavaco Silva opposed the law but did not veto it, as the Socialist Government had made clear they would have then held a second vote, which would have overridden the veto.

Portugal has recognised same-sex couples as de factos since 2001 and protection from discrimination on the grounds of sexuality was written into the Portuguese Constitution in 2004.

The only area where discrimination remains legal is parenting, where same-sex couples may not adopt (although they may do so as single people) or foster children, and where lesbians and single women are barred from accessing IVF.

Paixo and Pires, who were active campaigners for marriage equality, have now pledged to work to change the country’s adoption laws.

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