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Switzerland set to back same-sex marriage in historic referendum, exit poll says

Patrick Kelleher and Emma Powys Maurice September 26, 2021
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LGBT+ people march for equal marriage in Zurich, Switzerland.

LGBT+ people march for equal marriage in Zurich, Switzerland. (Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP) (Photo by FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP via Getty)

Switzerland looks set to vote overwhelmingly in favour of same-sex marriage, according to preliminary results in the country’s “direct democracy” referendum.

The country went to the polls on Sunday (26 September) to vote on same-sex marriage in what was the culmination of a bitterly fought years-long campaign.

According to an exit poll from GFS.bern, 64 per cent voted in favour of introducing same-sex marriage, while 34 per cent voted against.

Even when the three per cent margin of error is factored in, the exit poll results suggests that Switzerland is likely to vote strongly in favour of same-sex marriage.

The final result in the country’s hotly-contested same-sex marriage referendum is expected later on Sunday.

Switzerland voted on same-sex marriage as a result of its ‘direct democracy’ system

The referendum came about after the country’s government voted in favour of introducing same-sex marriage in a parliamentary vote in December 2020.

However, conservative politicians who were opposed to legal change used Switzerland’s system of direct democracy to put the issue to the people.

Those opposed to same-sex marriage managed to secure 50,000 signatures calling on the government to hold a referendum on the issue – meaning the government’s hand was forced.

Opinion polls in the lead-up to the referendum had shown that the Swiss population was largely in favour of same-sex marriage – however, the gap had narrowed in the lead-up to polling day.

Speaking to PinkNews ahead of the vote, Roman Heggli of Swiss LGBT+ group Pink Cross said a “good result” would be anything above 58 per cent in favour.

“I think it’s like a strong signal that would actually be so great for all the young queer people who might be struggling still, with coming out or with their sexual orientation,” Heggli said.

“And to see that the majority of the public supports and accepts their love. I think that will be, especially for them, a really, really strong signal. But of course, for the whole community too. I really hope it will be like that.”

If the vote goes the right way, it will represent an enormous leap forward in civil rights for LGBT+ people in Switzerland.

If passed, the referendum won’t just mean same-sex couples can get married – it will also mean that they will be allowed to adopt and to access sperm donation services for the first time.

 

 

 

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