Switzerland votes for same-sex marriage by two-thirds majority

Swiss voters approve proposals that will also see the extension of adoption rights

Swiss voters are expected to approve same-sex marriage in a referendum. Photograph: Peter Schneider/EPA

Swiss voters are expected to approve same-sex marriage in a referendum. Photograph: Peter Schneider/EPA

 

Switzerland has voted to legalise civil marriage for same-sex couples by a nearly two-thirds majority in a referendum on Sunday, making it one of the last countries in western Europe to legalise gay marriage.

According to results provided by the Swiss federal chancellery, 64.1 per cent of voters voted in favour of same-sex marriage in the nationwide referendum that was conducted under Switzerland’s system of direct democracy.

The referendum result also means adoption rights for same-sex couples will now be extended.

“We are very happy and relieved,” said Antonia Hauswirth of the national committee Marriage for All, adding that supporters would celebrate in Switzerland’s capital Bern on Sunday.

Amnesty International said in a statement that the move to open civil marriage to same-sex couples was a “milestone for equality”.

However, Monika Rueegger of Switzerland’s right-wing Swiss People’s Party (SVP) and a member of the referendum committee No to Marriage for All said she was disappointed.

“This was not about love and feelings, it was about children’s welfare. Children and fathers are the losers here,” she told Reuters.

Switzerland’s parliament and the governing Federal Council had supported the Marriage for All proposals, and pre-referendum polls showed solid backing.

Switzerland has authorised same-sex civil partnerships since 2007.

It will now be possible for same-sex couples to get married, and to adopt children unrelated to them. Married lesbian couples would also be allowed to have children through sperm donation, currently legal only for married heterosexual couples.

It will also be easier for foreign same-sex spouses of a Swiss individual to get citizenship.

In a separate referendum, 64.9 per cent of Swiss voters rejected a proposal to introduce a capital gains tax. – Reuters/AP