On 26 September, Swiss citizens voted 64.1% in favour of amending the Swiss Civil Code to legalise same-sex couples’ right to marry and adopt children. Campaigners have hailed the vote as a historic moment for LGBT rights in the country. The measure will make it possible for same-sex couples to adopt unrelated children and for married lesbian couples to have children through sperm donation.
Switzerland’s parliament and the governing federal council supported the “Marriage for All” measure, and pre-referendum polls showed solid backing. Switzerland has authorised same-sex civil partnerships since 2007. Supporters said approval would put same-sex partners on an equal legal footing with heterosexual couples by allowing them to adopt children together and facilitating citizenship for same-sex spouses. It would also permit lesbian couples to use regulated sperm donation.
Opponents argued that replacing civil partnerships with full marriage rights would undermine families based on a union between one man and one woman. The campaign has been rife with allegations of unfair tactics, with opposing sides decrying the ripping down of posters, LGBT hotlines getting flooded with complaints, hostile emails and shouted insults against campaigners, and efforts to silence opposing views.
“It is a historic day for Switzerland, a historic day when it comes to equality for same-sex couples, and it is also an important day for the whole LGBT community,” said Jan Muller of the “yes” campaign committee.