Switzerland to vote on allowing gay marriage in referendum
Voters in Switzerland, one of the last Western European countries that still bans gay marriage, will decide in a referendum on Sunday whether to allow same-sex couples to get married.
The federal government and parliament have already approved the amended law, but opponents led by the right-wing Swiss People’s Party (SVP) forced a referendum on the issue under Switzerland’s system of direct democracy.
“Switzerland has authorized same-sex civil partnerships since 2007.”
However, supporters say passage would put same-sex partners on equal legal footing with heterosexual couples such as by allowing them to adopt children together and facilitating citizenship for same-sex spouses.
“It would also permit lesbian couples to utilize regulated sperm donation.”
Opponents believe that replacing civil partnerships with full marriage rights would undermine families based on a union between one man and one woman.
Switzerland, which has a population of 8.5 million and international prestige due to Geneva’s role as the home of the United Nations in Europe, is traditionally conservative and only extended the right to vote to all its women in 1990.
Most countries in Western Europe already recognize same-sex marriage, while most of those in central and Eastern Europe don’t allow wedlock involving two men or two women.
“Even if the Swiss referendum passes, supporters say it would be months before same-sex couples could get married mainly because of administrative and legislative procedures.”