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Portugal legalizes same-sex adoption

Portugal legalizes same-sex adoption

Portugal parliament

Portugal has approved laws to allow same-sex couples to adopt children legally, following a vote this afternoon.

The law changes will also allow lesbians to seek assisted conception methods.

The bill, put forward by the Socialist Party stated: ‘The fact that homosexual parenting is in no way harmful to children’s development is scientifically established.’

Speaking in parliament this morning, André Silva, deputy leader of center-left political party PAN (Pessoas-Animais-Natureza) said: ‘All children – including children in care – have a right to have a welcoming family, providing love, stability, security, commitment, and the opportunity to bond and enjoy interactions essential for their development.’

He added: ‘It is clear: in Portugal there is a clear discrimination against this type of parenting.’

Only now the left wing parties hold a parliamentary majority have the discriminatory laws been overturned, with the socialist parties working together with the radical Left Bloc party.

It is thought between 15 and 19 right wing MPs voted against the official direction set by their party, and defiantly voted in favour of the new laws, although detailed voting figures were not immediately available following the announcement.

European LGBTI advocacy group ILGA-Europe said this vote is a major victory for equality.

Speaking after the vote, Executive Director Evelyne Paradis said: 

‘The road to equal adoption rights for same-sex couples in Portugal has been a long one.

‘Today is a wonderful day for families in Portugal, for the LGBTI activists, civil society groups and allies who have worked so hard to eliminate discrimination in adoption law.’

This is the fourth time since 2012 that parliament has ruled on this subject.

In 2013, the Portuguese parliament approved a law allowing one same-sex partner to adopt their partner’s children, if they were married, but refused to allow same-sex adoption if both parents were childless.

When same-sex marriage was voted into law in 2010, the law explicitly excluded the right to adopt.

The new laws are also due to affect women’s abortion rights; charges for voluntary abortions up to the 10th week of pregnancy are set to be dropped, and women are no longer required to seek counselling before the procedure.