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A lesbian couple wed Monday in Portugal's first same-sex ceremony since the predominantly Catholic country introduced a law allowing gay marriage last month.

Teresa Pires and Helena Paixao, divorced Portuguese mothers in their 30s who have been together since 2003, married in a 15-minute ceremony at a Lisbon registry office.

"This is a great victory, a dream come true," Pires said as the couple kissed and hugged.

"Now we're a family, that's the important thing," Pires said, adding they would continue to fight for equal rights for homosexuals, including adoption.

The ceremony came less than a month after Portugal's conservative president ratified a gay marriage law passed by Parliament in January. His approval made Portugal the sixth in Europe to let same-sex couples wed.

The center-left Socialist government said the law is part of its effort to modernize Portugal, where homosexuality was a crime until 1982. Three years ago the same government lifted Portugal's ban on abortion, despite church opposition.


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