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Gay couples in Portugal win limited right to adoption

Portugal’s parliament Friday adopted legislation allowing individuals in a gay marriage or partnership to apply to adopt each other’s children.

Coinciding with International Day Against Homophobia, the bill leapt its first hurdle by passing a first reading with 99 votes in favour, 94 against and nine abstentions.

It won support from the opposition Socialist Party and the extreme left along with 16 members of Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho’s centre-right Social Democrats.

To become law, it must still win approval in a second reading before being signed by the country’s president.

Two other bills seeking to give couples full rights to adopt jointly were rejected, however.

In Portugal, any individual can apply to adopt but a gay marriage law passed three years ago explicitly excluded adoption for same-sex couples.

The new bill aims not to revisit adoption by gay couples but to “respond pragmatically to existing family realities,” the bill’s authors said.