Political party’s anti-gay posters evade prosecution
A Swiss right-wing political party will not face charges over advertising posters which called gay couples infertile.
The Swiss People’s Party (UDC) was campaigning earlier this year against a proposal to extend tax benefits to same-sex partners in Geneva.
The party’s general secretary added to the controversy by saying that gay people contribute nothing to society because they do not have children.
An overwhelming majority of voters in Geneva eventually voted in favour of granting gay and lesbian couples equal inheritance rights and other benefits.
In the May 20th referendum 83% voted in favour of the changes, which were supported by all political parties except the UDC.
The Geneva prosecutor Daniel Zappelli said the law set down by Switzerland’s highest court “does not protect ‘indistinct’ groups such as homosexuals from insults.
“Ethnic, racial and religious groups are the only ones given legal protection from offensive remarks,” he said, according to the Tribune de Geneve.
Gay groups are to ask for a change in the law.
May’s referendum result means same-sex couples will be exempt from inheritance tax when one of them dies.
The Geneva Canton now has the same laws as the rest of the country.
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As the proposal related to a change in the tax regime, a canonical referendum was required.
Switzerland passed legislation to recognise same-sex partnerships in 2004, and it came into effect on January 1st 2007.
Same-sex civil unions, which were approved by a country-wide referendum in 2005, do not grant full marital rights to gay and lesbian couples.
The unions have a similar legal status, but gay couples are barred from adopting children or from receiving IVF treatment.
The referendum was the first time in Europe that the issue of same-sex partnerships had been the subject of a plebiscite.
The partnership legislation was passed by the Council of States and the National Council in 2004.