Portugal lawmakers overturn veto on gay rights, abortion law
Feb. 10, 2016
LISBON, Portugal (AP) — Same-sex couples will soon be able to adopt children in Portugal after lawmakers voted to overturn a presidential veto, with parliament also removing some abortion restrictions Wednesday.
Left-of-center parties in the Portuguese parliament used their majority to ensure that gay couples obtain the same adoption rights as heterosexuals.
Parliament initially approved the change in November, but President Anibal Cavaco Silva blocked it last month. The head of state argued the legislation required broader public consultation and that parliament failed to demonstrate it was in the best interest of children.
The adoption law change passed with 137 votes in favor after some members of center-right parties also supported it. A majority of 116 was required to overturn the veto.
On a separate issue, lawmakers with the governing Socialist Party and its allies in the Communist Party and radical Left Bloc also voted to override the president's veto on changes to the abortion law, approving it with 119 votes in favor.
The changes will waive mandatory counselling and medical payments for women seeking an abortion through the public health service. In his veto, the president insisted on mandatory counselling, saying it is a common requirement in other European countries and eliminating it would diminish the right to information.
Socialist lawmaker Pedro Alves said the changes ended discrimination on both issues.
"This is a good day for democracy," he said.
The new laws will take effect later this month.