Swiss national referendum returns approval for the new same-sex rights law
by Seth Meyer (Staff Writer)
With a majority of 64%, Swiss citizens turned out on Sunday, 26th September, to vote strongly in favour of the ‘Marriage for All’ Bill, a legislative amendment aimed at ensuring equal and protected rights to (amongst other things) marriage and adoption for same-sex partners.
The Bill, initially introduced in 2013 and passed by the Swiss government in December of 2020, was finally put to a national referendum after being challenged by its opponents and will now be made law.
The new legislation regarding same-sex marriages will be considered in effect from July of 2022, according to Switzerland’s Justice Minister Karin-Keller Sutter, who stated the results of the referendum, declaring: “Whoever loves each other and wants to get married will be able to do so, regardless of whether it is two men, two women, or a man and a woman.”
Switzerland has legally supported same-sex partnerships since 2007 but certain rights afforded to heterosexual couples have always been withheld. Before the passing of the ‘Marriage for All’ Bill, same-sex partners were unable to adopt a child not related to one or both of the foster parents, have access to certain fertility treatments, or the naturalization rights that heterosexual couples enjoy.
The Swiss government has been steadily approving new protections and rights in favour of same-sex married couples since 2007, with the passing of the ‘Marriage for All Bill’ seen as the final legislative equalizing step for gay people in Switzerland, who will now fully enjoy the same rights and protections as any heterosexual person or couple.
The results of the referendum remove Switzerland from the minority group of the few remaining European countries that do not legally recognize and protect same-sex rights.
The Bill won approval from all 26 cantons of the State, with nearly two million votes cast in favour.