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Switzerland votes overwhelmingly in favour of same-sex marriage, proving that love always wins

Patrick Kelleher September 26, 2021
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Couples pose during a photo event during a nationwide referendum's day on same-sex marriage, in Swiss capital Bern on September 26, 2021.

Couples pose during a photo event during a nationwide referendum's day on same-sex marriage, in Swiss capital Bern on September 26, 2021. (FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP via Getty)

Switzerland has voted overwhelmingly in favour of same-sex marriage in a history-making referendum, proving that love always wins.

Some 64.1 per cent of the population voted in favour of allowing same-sex couples to marry, with just 35.9 per cent voting against.

Every single one of Switzerland’s 26 cantons voted in favour of same-sex marriage – the region that came closest to tipping into “no” territory was Appenzell Inner Rhoden, where 50.8 per cent voted in favour of marriage equality.

The landslide vote will bring Switzerland in line with other countries in Western Europe, where same-sex marriage has increasingly become the norm in recent years.

The positive referendum result also means that same-sex couples will be allowed to adopt children for the first time, while queer women will finally gain access to sperm donation services.

Switzerland’s LGBT+ community is ‘overwhelmed’ by landslide same-sex marriage vote

Members of the country’s LGBT+ community took to the streets on Sunday (26 September) to celebrate their incredible victory, which came at the end of a bruising campaign.

The referendum was held under Switzerland’s system of direct democracy, which allows people to bring issues to a public vote if they can get enough signatures.

Conservatives triggered a referendum on same-sex marriage after the country’s parliament voted in favour of legalising the measure in December 2020.

The incredible result was welcomed by Switzerland’s government, which had encouraged people to vote in favour of equality for same-sex couples.

Justice minister Karin Keller-Sutter told journalists that the result would mean the end of “current inequalities of treatment”. She added that the state “should not impose on citizens how they should lead their lives”.

Maria von Känel of the Swiss Rainbow Families Association told PinkNews that the result was “unbelievable” on Sunday (26 September).

Speaking by phone, von Känel said she and other activists were “overwhelmed” by the result, adding that it represented a “historic moment” for the country’s LGBT+ community.

“It’s 64.1 per cent. It is [a landslide],” she said. “We are very grateful because it sends a magnificent signal to all that we as citizens, we want equal opportunities for all couples.”

The result was also welcomed by Lesbenorganisation Schweiz, an organisation that works to represent lesbians and queer women in Switzerland.

The group noted that lesbians, bisexuals and gay men were “severely neglected” in the country just 30 years ago. The vote shows how far the country has come, they said.

“We owe this development to activists and politicians who have worked tirelessly for our equality for decades,” the group said.

“The success is also thanks to the active commitment of the community and our allies in the last few months. It would not have been possible without you.”

Conservatives tried to make the referendum about a child’s ‘right’ to a mother and father

Switzerland’s LGBT+ community won the referendum despite efforts from the right-wing activists in the country to muddy the waters.

Conservatives in Switzerland had focused on LGBT+ parents in the lead-up to the referendum, with posters showing pictures of crying children.

Religious figures had also argued that children had a right to a mother and a father, and claimed that the referendum, if passed, would deprive children of that right.

However, Swiss society ultimately voted to reject those sentiments. Sunday’s vote will now pave the way for same-sex marriage to become a reality – although activists have warned that it could be some time yet before the first couples tie the knot due to legal and administrative obstacles.

Speaking after the history-making result, Keller-Sutter said the first same-sex couples will be allowed to marry in Switzerland in July 2022.

Meanwhile, the 11,500 couples who are currently in civil partnerships will be allowed to either maintain their current relationship status or have it converted into a marriage.

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