The President of Portugal has blocked a law that would have equalised adoption laws for same-sex couples – just weeks before leaving office.

The new law had passed through Portugal’s Parliament last last year, granting full adoption rights to same-sex couples, and allowing lesbian couples to receive medically assisted fertilisation.

Portuguese President Anibal Cavaco Silva, of the centre-right Social Democratic Party, blocked the law just two months before he is set to leave office.

He claimed in a statement that the law doesn’t regard “the child’s best interest” as a priority, which he claims is more important than equality for gay couples.

He added: “It is important that such a big change on a sensitive social topic is not entered into force without a broad public debate.”

The left-wingers who dominate the country’s Parliament will try to override Silva’s veto on the issue.

Despite the stalling on the issue, many same-sex couples are already raising children together in Portugal under existing laws.

Since 2013, gay people have been permitted to adopt their partner’s children – while any individual, gay or straight, can legally adopt on their own.

Despite this, same-sex couples were explicitly banned from doing so as a couple in 2010.

Despite being progressive on some LGBT issues, 81 percent of Portugal’s population is Catholic – and the powerful Catholic church remains staunchly opposed to same-sex parenting.