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Portugal’s adoption rights for same-sex couples placed in doubt

Friday, January 17, 2014

LISBON, Portugal — Portugal’s limited adoption rights for same-sex couples are in doubt after Parliament voted for a referendum on the divisive issue.

São Bento Palace in Lisbon is the seat of Portuguese Legislature.

São Bento Palace in Lisbon is the seat of Portuguese Legislature.

Parliament last year approved a law allowing gay married couples to adopt their partners’ children, though it rejected legislation granting gay couples the same adoption rights as heterosexuals.

Lawmakers with the biggest party, the center-right Social Democratic Party, used their majority Friday to force a ballot on same-sex adoption. They won by 11 votes in the 230-seat Parliament after their junior coalition partner in the government, the Popular Party, abstained.

Opponents accused the Social Democrats of trying to divert attention from the country’s economic problems.

The final word on whether to call a referendum lies with the Constitutional Court and Portugal’s president. Their decisions are expected within two months.

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