In 2018, Switzerland’s National Council passed a law banning homophobia.
Despite passing a law banning homophobia in the country, opponents to the legislation successfully got 50,000 signatures which forced the issue to go to a referendum.
However, Reuters reports that projections for after the polls closed at 12pm local time showed that 62% of the population backed the change of law. The projection allowed for an error of margin of three percentage points.
After the initial ban had passed, Rene Schegg, the secretary general of LGBTQ group Pink Cross, said: “The decision of the day is an important step. It will likely bring Switzerland back to the rankings of the International Association of LGBTI People, where our country currently ranks 22nd behind Estonia and Hungary.”
Opponents had attempted to portray the debate as an attack on freedom of speech, while posters supporting the change featured two pink hearts rubbing against each other underneath an umbrella.
The law bans “publicly denigrating or discriminating against someone for being gay, inciting hatred against a gay person in text, speech, images or gestures and operators of restaurants, cinemas and public facilities such as swimming pools discriminating based on sexual orientation.”
However, it doesn’t ban homophobia within family settings, discrimination based on gender identity, public debate around discrimination and jokes about gay people.
One of the big supporters of the law change was the drinks company, Coca Cola, who brought out advertising for the front pages of all of Switzerland’s national newspapers earlier this week. The adverts displayed a Coca Cola bottle covered with the rainbow flag.
Copy for the advert read: “Coca-Cola is enjoyed by many in Switzerland. Regardless of age, gender, skin colour, religion, or sexual orientation. The vast diversity in a small country like Switzerland requires understanding and solidarity from everyone.
“We also want to do our bit by bringing people together. That’s why we take a stand for a colourful and non-discriminatory society. For a Switzerland where people stand #together!”
Of course, the brand’s campaigning did attract some criticism, with opponents of the law change, giving a press release titled: “I don’t like Coca-Cola anymore!”
And Eric Bertinat, a lawmaker from the right-wing Swiss People’s Party feared passing the law was part of an “LGBT plan to slowly move towards same-sex marriage and medically assisted reproduction” for same-sex couples.