In a major win for LGBTQ+ rights, Swiss residents have overwhelmingly voted for same-sex marriage in the country’s recent referendum.
The official tally revealed that 64.1% of voted in favour, while only 35.9% voted against. Within Switzerland’s 26 cantons, the majority voted yes for the referendum.
This historic moment will now bring the country in line with other Western European countries that have already legalised same-sex marriage.
Under this new legislation, same-sex partners will now be able to adopt children, queer women can access sperm donation services, and it will make it easier for foreign partners to obtain Swiss citizenship.
The definition in the Swiss Civil Code will also be changed to “two people” versus “bride” and “groom.”
Since the voting results were revealed, LGBTQ+ activists and organizations have come out in support of the decision.
Co-president of the Swiss Rainbow Association Eva Kanderli expressed her excitement in a press release.
“We are overjoyed about this important, historic referendum. The adoption of the template is an important step for equality and the recognition of rainbow families in Switzerland,” she said.
In a statement to Reuters, same-sex couple Anouk Oswald and Corinne Guntern also praised the vote and opened up about their future.
“I want to be able to choose for myself if I want to marry this partner next to me and if it’s the right path for us to start a family, Oswald explained. “It’s important to show the younger generation you don’t need to hide.”
Switzerland, final results:
National referendum on Marriage For All Act (same sex couple can wed with same rights as heterosexuals i.e. naturalisation, joint adoption & assisted reproductive technology).
— Europe Elects (@EuropeElects) September 26, 2021
Guntern echoed similar sentiments to her partner and pointed out the bias adoption system before the referendum.
“Today, if I reach a certain age and I’m single, regardless of my sexual orientation, I can be accepted into the adoption process and apply to adopt a child. But if I’m in a same-sex partnership, right now, I can’t,” she said.
“Of course, a child needs safety and love… but I don’t think it makes a difference whether that’s given by a straight or gay couple.”
Before the referendum took place, the “Marriage for All” measure was passed in December 2020.
The legislation was not only supported by the residents but also by the Switzerland parliament and the country’s governing federal council.
Unfortunately, conservatives sparked a referendum shortly after the monumental vote because they thought it would undermine marriages between a man and a woman.
In terms of the future, same-sex partners will be allowed to legally marry starting in July 2022.
For the 11,500 couples who are currently in civil partnerships, an option to convert to marriage or keep their present relationship status will be given.