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Marcelo vetoes decrees on gender neutrality/ identity and expression

Says bid to allow children to decide own gender at school “does not respect role of parents”

President Marcelo has navigated his way through the delicate ‘gender debate’ and come out vetoing parliamentary decrees that could have seen people decide on ‘gender neutral first names’, and children switching genders at school.

Portugal’s head of State has said of the first decree, that it “does not guarantee a balance in respect of the essential principle of people’s freedom” – and of the second, on measures to be adopted in schools, he said the “decree does not sufficiently respect the role of parents, guardians, legal representatives and associations formed by them, nor does it clarify the different situations according to age”.

The country’s communities of school directors and parents associations have reacted positively, saying they sincerely hope their contributions to this subject will be taken into account in any future decision-making.

Mariana Carvalho, president of CONFAP (the national confederation of parents associations) told Lusa: “To have a law that serves no purpose is much worse than not having a law at all”.

President Marcelo had clearly gone into the small print of these decrees very carefully. In the case of the decree allowing citizens to change their gender, he did not agree with the change to be able to be registered on marriage records (even on birth records of children “particularly minors”) without the other party to whom they were, or still are, married being informed.

The decrees were set for presidential promulgation before parliament was dissolved. Now they have effectively been sent them back so that a future parliament, in the words of the president, can “consider introducing more realism” into the matter.

Source material: LUSA