Swiss parliament passes marriage equality in final vote

Switzerland’s parliament has passed the final vote on same-sex marriage, after a seven year campaign.

This makes Switzerland the 29th country in the world to approve marriage equality.

The vote could still be challenged by a public referendum. But even if it is, marriage equality is likely to win as the vast majority of Swiss citizens support it.

Salome Zimmermann, president of the national Marriage for All Committee, said (translated):

‘Today is a historic day for the LGBT community and their friends.

‘The Swiss Parliament today confirmed that rainbow families and same-sex couples deserve the same rights as heterosexual families.

‘Although this is already a matter of course for many in Switzerland, today’s victory is an incredible step forward for our country and everyone who is directly or indirectly affected by it.

‘We would like to thank everyone who has put their heart and soul into this cause in recent years: progressive parliamentarians, LGBT organizations, family organizations, and all other people who have contributed to this day. The opening of marriage was and is teamwork.’

‘Clearly the beginning of a new era’

Meanwhile fellow campaigner Jan Müller also heralded the vote but pointed out there are still issues to resolve in the future around parenting rights. Müller said (translated):

‘Today’s decision also means that the young generation will grow up in a Switzerland where it is a matter of course that same-sex lovers can marry and start a family.

‘This strengthens each and every one of us and contributes to the acceptance of LGBT people. It is clearly the beginning of a new era.

‘Nevertheless, we are aware that the proposal does not bring about complete equality of treatment for the children of female couples and we are therefore working to ensure that all inequalities are eliminated in the context of future revisions!’

One thing the new marriage law does include, however, is access to sperm donation for same-sex female couples.

Maria von Känel from the Marriage for All Committee said (translated):

‘The equal access of female couples to sperm donation in Switzerland relieves those affected from a great deal of suffering.

‘We are very proud that Switzerland – in contrast to France or Germany – took this step in the context of opening up marriage.

‘At last thousands of children are legally protected from birth, as it should be.’

Referendum risk

Switzerland has a direct democracy. So if opponents gather 50,000 voter signatures in 100 days, they can challenge new laws via a referendum.

But polling this year showed 82% of Swiss voters want marriage open to all.

Müller previously said: ‘We look to the future with confidence, because if the opponents of marriage launch a referendum for everyone, we are ready for a voting campaign.

‘82% of the Swiss population say yes to marriage for everyone – with the mobilizing power of the LGBT community, family organizations, our partner organizations and the political parties that support us, we will be able to further increase acceptance of LGBT people.’


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