Portugal’s government is drawing up a law to allow gay marriage.
According to Associated Press, the legislative change would remove any references to gender and if passed, would come in to force by April.
It would be voted on by lawmakers in January, before President Anibal Cavaco Silva can approve or veto it.
It is thought the law is almost certain to pass, as left-wing parties who are supportive of gay marriage occupy a majority of seats.
Portugal, which has a large Roman Catholic population, has seen all previous efforts to instigate same-sex marriage hit by heavy resistance from the country’s religious groups and conservative politicians.
This year, a lesbian couple tried to challenge the current prohibition on gay marriage.
Teresa Pires and Helena Paixao, two divorced mothers in their 30s who have been together since 2003, challenged the country’s law when they were turned away from a registry office in Lisbon in 2006 after trying to wed.
The registry office rejected their attempt to marry on the grounds that the law states that marriage is between people of different genders.
In July, the Portuguese constitutional court upheld the ban on same-sex marriage.