In what is certainly the biggest decision of Portugal’s new parliament so far – and one of the first visible signs of the left-wing’s majority – MPs have today (November 20) approved four draft laws allowing same-sex couples to adopt children.
The proposals were approved by the PS socialists, animal rights party PAN, green party PEV, the PCP communists and the Bloco de Esquerda lefties, as well as 19 MPs of the social-democrats PSD.
Among the PSD MPs who voted favourably are Paula Teixeira da Cruz, Portugal’s former justice minister, the party’s vice-president Teresa Leal Coelho and Algarve MP Cristóvão Norte.
But as Público newspaper points out, this doesn’t mean gay adoption is legal yet.
The draft laws will still be analysed by commissions before undergoing a final vote in parliament.
Nonetheless, the approval of the proposals was met with applause by the left-wing alliance and even some PSD MPs and has already been celebrated by LGBT groups.
“Portugal has today taken a huge step towards equality. It’s a victory for human rights. Parliament knew how to take into account the interests of all children. Today, Portugal has made us proud,” gay rights organisation ILGA Portugal wrote on its Facebook page.
Abortion tax reversed
Portugal’s new parliament has also done away with the abortion fees introduced this year by the PSD/CDS-PP coalition government, as well as mandatory counselling before the procedure is carried out.
The proposals were approved by all left-wing parties and animal rights party PAN.
A surprise vote in favour of the changes came from PSD’s Paula Teixeira da Cruz. While the social-democrats had allowed their MPs to vote freely concerning the gay adoption draft laws, they had agreed to vote unanimously against the abolishment of the abortion fees.
Cruz went against the agreement.
“I used my freedom to vote and I will face the consequences” was all she told Lusa news agency after the voting.