Portuguese president Aníbal Cavaco Silva has for the second time vetoed a bill to grant cohabiting heterosexual and homosexual couples the same rights as their married counterparts. Públicoquotes the head of State as saying, “That would be liable to confuse two different realities – which our citizens wish to keep different” and to “turn cohabitation into proto-marriage or second-rate marriage.” What is more, he remarks, “There hasn’t been enough debate over a matter that naturally lends itself to controversy.” And now the current legislature is drawing to a close. The Portuguese will be heading to the polls on 27 September to elect their new parliament, which is then expected to grapple with the issue. Championed by prime minister José Sócrates’ Socialist Party, civil unions will be the central campaign issue in the weeks to come.