Lisbon: Portugal`s parliament on Thursday rejected draft laws to allow gay couples to adopt children, despite a strong vote in favour by the left-wing Socialists which left the margin smaller than ever.
The draft laws, presented by the opposition Socialist, Left Bloc and Green parties were all defeated by some 30 votes by the chamber in which 220 deputies were present.
The majority ruling right, led by the Social Democrats, had already refused to back similar propositions in 2012 and 2013.
Thursday`s vote was nevertheless passed by the smallest margin yet as the 16 Communist Party deputies for the first time backed the move to allow gay couples to adopt.
In Portugal any individuals, including homosexuals, may apply to adopt but when the parliament authorised gay marriages in 2010 it expressly excluded the right for such couples to adopt.
The ruling Social Democrats on Thursday allowed their deputies a free vote on the issue, while criticising the opposition for once more raising it.
The Socialist Party, seen as favourite to win elections in the autumn, has chosen Lisbon mayor Antonio Costa, an advocate of the right for homosexual couples to adopt, as its secretary general.