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Portugal’s parliament overturns veto on gay adoption

Published on 10/02/2016

Portugal's parliament on Wednesday upheld a bill giving adoption rights to gay couples by overriding a veto handed down in one of the last political moves by the country's outgoing conservative president.

Lawmakers from the ruling leftist alliance that toppled the conservative government in November voted again for the measure by an absolute majority, as needed to overrule the president’s action. It fulfilled a campaign promise by new socialist Prime Minister Antonio Costa.

“The era of discrimination for sexual orientation has passed,” said Socialist deputy Pedro Delgado Alves, adding that “adoption by couples of the same sex is not against the best interests of the child.”

President Anibal Cavaco Silva had vetoed the measure in late January arguing that lawmakers should consider the child’s interest rather than the issue of equality “between different and same-sex couples”.

Up to now, adoption has been open to all individuals in Portugal, but the law allowing gay marriage which was passed in February 2010 explicitly excluded the right of same-sex couples to adopt.

The 76-year-old, who served two terms as president, will be replaced on March 9 by centre-right TV pundit Rebelo de Sousa, who was elected on January 25 in the first round of presidential polls.

In another of parting move, Cavaco Silva had also vetoed a series of amendments to Portugal’s abortion laws that eliminate fees introduced in July by the previous conservative government.

The leftist-dominated parliament also voted to override that veto.