Two Portuguese women are trying to take advantage of a legal discrepancy in Portugal in an attempt to get married and highlight homosexual rights in the country.

The couple became the first homosexuals to try to register their marriage yesterday, and are expecting to be turned down, but said they had already presented an appeal in the courts.

Helena Paixao and Teresa Pires are basing their case on Portugal’s 1975 constitution, which bans sexual discrimination, arguing that two women have the same right to marry as a man and a woman. Portugal’s civil code, however, bans same-sex marriages.

Miss Pires told Reuters: “Our desire to get married is just as strong as heterosexual couples. We want to get married in our country, we are Portuguese.”

They will receive a formal response to their marriage request later today, but the women’s lawyer, Luis Grave Rodrigues, told Reuters he was sure they would be denied.

Parliament’s left-wing opposition bloc on Wednesday presented a motion to legalise homosexual marriages. The ruling Socialist Party, which has a majority in parliament, has not adopted a position on the issue.

Neighbour and fellow Roman Catholic country, Spain allowed same sex marriages last year.