The civilized world:

Portugal's President Anibal Cavaco Silva announced that he would ratify a law to permit same-sex marriage, making it the sixth European nation where gay couples can wed—and far ahead of the United States when it comes to civil rights for LGBT people. Belgium, The Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, and Norway round out the European countries that validate the right of citizens to marry who they choose. Other nations where equal marriage is the law of the land? Canada and South Africa. Civil unions are affirmed in New Zealand, the United Kingdom, Finland, Denmark, Iceland, Germany, and Israel. The Portuguese bill, which passed a Socialist Parliament in January, comes after the nation legalized civil unions in 2001 for a country that is 90 percent Catholic.

The uncivilized world:

A court in Malawi has convicted a gay couple of gross indecency and unnatural acts. Steven Monjeza, 26, and Tiwonge Chimbalanga, 20, were arrested in December 2009 after celebrating their engagement ahead of a wedding planned for 2010. They have been in jail ever since and now face 14 years in prison.... Judge Nyakwawa Usiwa-Usiwa convicted both men of engaging in gay sex, which he said was "against the order of nature". They are to be sentenced on 20 May.

In calling for a lighter sentence, the couple's lawyer argued that the pair's actions had not victimised anyone. "Unlike in a rape case, there was no complainant or victim in this case," he said. "Here are two consenting adults doing their thing in private. Nobody will be threatened or offended if they are released into society." But the chief prosecutor welcomed the judge's decision. "In Malawi, we don't allow men to marry men or women to marry women," said Dickens Mwambazi. "I think 90% of the crowd here agree with the ruling."