Voters in Switzerland have overwhelmingly approved same-sex marriage in a referendum.
Almost two-thirds of Swiss voters (64%) backed a measure to legalize marriage equality, despite opposition from conservatives and religious groups.
“It is a historic day for Switzerland,” Jan Muller, of the “yes” campaign, told AFPtold AFP, “a historic day when it comes to equality for same-sex couples, and it is also an important day for the whole LGBT community.”
With the backing of voters, Switzerland has become one of the last Western European nations to extend marriage to same-sex couples. Three of its five neighboring countries. — Austria, France, and Germany — have legalized same-sex marriage, while Italy and the principality of Liechtenstein have not.
Same-sex couples in Switzerland will now enjoy the same rights as married heterosexual couples, including joint adoption, naturalization, and access to assisted reproduction.
Switzerland’s justice minister, Karin Keller-Sutter, said that same-sex marriages would formally begin in July 2022, saying, “Whoever loves each other and wants to get married will be able to do so, regardless of whether it is two men, two women, or a man and a woman.”
The referendum succeeded despite accusations of unfair tactics from the “no” campaign and anti-LGBTQ groups, including the tearing down of same-sex marriage posters and LGBTQ hotlines being inundated with complaints, the Associated Press reportsAssociated Press reports.
Right-wing politician Monika Rueegger, whose Swiss People’s Party opposed marriage equality, told Reuters that children and fathers would lose after voters approved same-sex marriage.
“This was not about love and feelings,” she said. “It was about children’s welfare.”
Swiss lawmakers originally voted to approve same-sex marriage last year. At the time, a referendum on the vote wasn’t required, but anti-LGBTQ groups forced a vote by gathering enough signatures by April of this year.
At the time of the vote in parliament, campaign group Marriage For All called it a “milestone in the fight for the rights of the Swiss LGBT population, but also an important victory for their dignity, their acceptance and their inclusion in society.”
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