The Portuguese Parliament on Friday passed a bill to offer some adoption and fostering rights to same-sex couples.
The bill won with a very narrow majority of just five votes in the Lisbon assembly, but prompted long applause from the assembly, reports Reuters.
Campaigners in the country celebrated the victory, but held it up as only a partial one, which fell short of full adoption rights, which they had aimed for.
Out of the 230-seat assembly, nine deputies abstained, and 28 did not attend for the vote.
Paulo Corte-Real, the head of the country’s LGBT rights association ILGA, told Reuters: “It was a super-important, fundamental approval as it concerns the human rights of the children and not just the couples.”
Mr Corte-Real said the new law would give children of same-sex couples better protections, in situations such as if their birth or adoptive parent became seriously ill or died.
This has been hailed as the biggest move forward for LGBT rights in Portugal since the country became the eighth in the world to allow equal marriage, back in 2010.
Today’s adoption bill still needs to be signed into law by President Anibal Cavaco Silva, who signed the equal marriage bill, despite expressing disapproval.
Another bill, which failed to pass on Friday, would have introduced full adoption rights for same-sex couples.
ILGA brought a lawsuit against the state in February, following a ruling by the European Court for Human Rights, that Austria’s adoption laws discriminated against gay people.
“That case will continue until the law comes fully into force,” said Corte-Real. “And we will keep fighting for wider adoptions. Both of today’s votes show progress, even the rejection. Support for wider adoptions has grown since last year.”