In one of his last political acts before leaving office, outgoing Portuguese President Anibal Cavaco Silva vetoed on Monday a bill that would give adoption rights to same-sex couples.
The law allowing gay couples to adopt passed through parliament on December 18, and was one of socialist Prime Minister Antonio Costa’s political priorities. The current government, which depends on the vote of two Communist parties, is planning to reverse Portugal’s frail economic recovery and to undermine basic social institutions such as marriage and the family.
However, Cavaco Silva is not willing to let this happen without at least trying to defend the interests of children, which would be the first victims of the communist anti-family policies. “It is important that such a big change on a sensitive social topic is not entered into force without a broad public debate,” he said, inviting MPs to consider “the child’s best interest” rather than “equality between different and same-sex couples”.
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 Sunday in the first round of presidential polls.
The ruling Socialist Party, which came to power after a leftist alliance toppled the conservative government in November, announced their intention to vote on the law again in an attempt to override the presidential veto — which is possible with an absolute majority vote in parliament.
Adoption is open to all individuals in Portugal, but the law allowing gay marriage which was passed in February 2010 explicitly excludes the right to adopt as a same-sex couple.
Cavaco Silva also vetoed on Monday a series of amendments to Portugal’s abortion laws eliminating fees introduced in July, a move the Socialist Party, which is consistent in its fight against children and family, said it will also attempt to override.