5 Years After Legalizing Gay Marriage, Portugal Will Let Same-Sex Couples Adopt

Parliament has ruled against same-sex adoption three times since 2012.
A woman with a drawn-on mustache of the word 'adoption' marches in Lisbon's gay pride parade on June 21, 2014. (Photo: Patricia Del Melo Moreira/Getty Images)
Nov 22, 2015· 1 MIN READ
Samantha Cowan is an associate editor for culture.

One of the more progressive countries for LGBT rights, Portugal outlawed discrimination based on sexual orientation in 2004. Still, gay couples have struggled to start families.

But same-sex couples will soon be able to adopt children, thanks to a law passed by the Portuguese parliament this week, The Associated Press reports. The law also improves access to reproductive assistance, such as artificial insemination, for lesbian couples.

Portugal legalized gay marriage in 2010, but that law banned same-sex adoption. In 2013, the parliament passed a law that allowed same-sex married couples to adopt their partners’ children. With a recently installed left-leaning majority, the parliament succeeded in passing the adoption law on its fourth go-around.

In New Zealand, France, and Argentina, same-sex marriage legalization included adoption as a right afforded to married couples. Belgium gave gay couples the right to adopt three years after legalizing same-sex marriage.

In the United States, fights over adoption have continued since the Supreme Court legalized same sex marriage last June.

Just this month, a judge in Utah ruled that a lesbian couple had to give up their foster child before reversing his ruling. North Dakota, Michigan, and West Virginia allow adoption agencies to opt out of providing services to same-sex couples if doing so conflicts with their religious beliefs, according to the Family Equality Council. While the majority of states do not implicitly state that same-sex couples can adopt, Mississippi expressly bans it.

For Portuguese couples, the decision is a long-awaited win. “The road to equal adoption rights for same-sex couples in Portugal has been a long one,” Evelyne Paradis, executive director of the LGBT group ILGA-Europe, said in a statement. “Today is a wonderful day for families in Portugal, for the LGBTI activists, civil society groups, and allies who have worked so hard to eliminate discrimination in adoption law.”