In one of his last acts in office, Portuguese President Anibal Cavaco Silva has vetoed legislation allowing same-sex couples to adopt children.
Cavaco Silva vetoed the bill, saying the issue should be subject to further debate, Agence France-Presse reports. “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 in a prepared statement. He also said lawmakers should make “the child’s best interest” a priority over equality “between different and same-sex couples.”
Cavaco Silva will leave office March 9, as he has served the maximum two terms allowed by law. Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa won the presidency, a largely ceremonial position, in the election held Sunday.
Portugal’s Socialist Party, which controls Parliament, vowed to override Cavaco Silva’s veto, AFP reports. The Socialists will also try to override his veto of a bill that would eliminate a requirement that women seeking an abortion receive counseling.
Any individual in Portugal can adopt, but the law establishing marriage equality, passed in 2010, explicitly barred same-sex couples from adopting.