LISBON, Portugal – Matilde Custódio and Olga Miranda will never forget the date. A Friday last month, the 14th of March. It's the date Portuguese legislators decided Olga could not be registered as one of the official parents of her partner Matilde’s biological daughter, Carolina.
One of countless same-sex couples with children who are affected by the decision, Matilde and Olga have been living together for the past 11 years.
It was around lunchtime and the final bill on co-parental adoption for same-sex couples was up for a vote by the Portuguese Parliament. The proposal was simple, but the bill did not pass. The parliament voted 111 against the legislation, and just 107 in favor, with five MPs abstaining.
Upon hearing the news, Matilde called Olga.
“How can this be over?” Olga asked. She said she still remembers March 14 as a very sad day. “I felt as I am still invisible and seen differently by our politicians.”
A couple of years ago when Matilde and Olga decided they wanted to have a baby together, they knew it would be hard. Portuguese law is not exactly friendly towards two women who want to raise a child. In Portugal, assisted reproductive technology is only made available to women in heterosexual marriages or life partnerships who have been diagnosed with infertility. So Matilde and Olga packed their bags and went to Spain, where Matilde could be artificially inseminated – no questions asked.
That is how Carolina was born.