Switzerland approves gay marriage with a big “yes”

Switzerland has joined the majority of Western European countries in launching a resounding yes to marriage for all in a referendum held on Sunday.

According to the most recent quantified estimate of the polling institute gfs.bern, the yes won with 64% with a margin of error of plus or minus two percentage points.

This result, still provisional but which can no longer be reversed, clearly exceeds the score announced by the polls before this election, which was opposed in particular by the populist party UDC, the country’s leading party and certain religious groups.

“It’s a historic day.” The formula was on everyone’s lips at the headquarters of supporters of the yes, in a restaurant in Bern, decked out with rainbow flags, where some 200 to 250 people gathered.

Shocking posters against gay marriage

The non camp had resumed its colors as the election approached by leading a campaign strongly focused on the well-being of the child, his development and the importance in his eyes of the couple made up of a father and a child. mother.

Shocking posters deplored the commodification of the child and affirmed that “marriage for all kills the father”.

On one of them, you can see a crying baby, with an ear tag usually reserved for cattle, and this question: “Babies to order?”.

On another, a huge zombie head, supposed to represent a deceased father, stares at passers-by. A primary school in Valais even decided to cover it up because it frightened children.

A long battle to get there

Homosexual couples could already enter into a civil pact in Switzerland, and on Sunday the cantons which opposed it seemed for the most part to have voted in favor of homosexual union 16 years later.

Parliament approved same-sex marriage at the end of 2020. His opponents from conservative circles then launched a referendum to try to block it, but it resulted in almost two-thirds (64%) of votes in favor of marriage for all on Sunday.

The new text provides in particular that same-sex couples can adopt a child jointly. In addition, female couples will be able to use sperm donation. It was one of the most controversial points and put forward by opponents.

Benjamin Roduit, national adviser (deputy), of the Center party, stressed on the public channel RTS that for him marriage for all between consenting adults is not a problem.

He said he was afraid, on the other hand, of the doors that he believed was opened up by access to sperm donation for lesbian couples. “The success of our campaign may have been to have thematized the child in MAP (medically assisted procreation),” he said.

Countries that recognize marriage for all

In 1989, Denmark became a pioneer by authorizing the first civil unions for same-sex couples.

But it was the Netherlands which, in April 2001, was the very first country to legalize same-sex marriage, which granted more rights. Since then, 15 European countries have followed suit: Belgium, Spain, Norway, Sweden, Portugal, Iceland, Denmark, France, Luxembourg, Ireland, Finland, Malta, Germany, Austria, United Kingdom. They are now 16, with Switzerland.

Civil union remains the only status allowed for same-sex couples in Hungary, Croatia, Greece, Cyprus, Italy and the Czech Republic. In the latter country, the legislative process to authorize marriage for same-sex couples is underway, but its outcome is uncertain.

The Slovenes, who recognize a civil union, rejected gay marriage in a 2015 referendum.

Estonia became in October 2014 the first former Soviet republic to grant civil union to homosexuals.

In Romania, where gay marriage is not allowed, a referendum aimed at entrenching the ban in the Constitution was invalidated in October 2018, due to a strong abstention.

Canada was the first country on the American continent to legalize same-sex marriage, in June 2005.

In the United States, it was not until June 2015 for the Supreme Court to legalize gay marriage across the country, while 14 out of 50 states prohibited it.

In 2019, the very first same-sex marriage in US history (1971) was officially validated after a nearly half-century legal battle. At the time, a Minnesota civil servant did not realize that the two spouses were of the same sex.

In Latin America, six countries allow same-sex marriages: Argentina since July 2010, Uruguay, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador since 2019, Costa Rica since 2020.

In Chile, where a civil union pact is in force for same-sex couples, marriage was authorized by the Senate in July 2021 but the legislative process is not complete.

Mexico City was, in 2007, the first in Latin America to authorize civil unions between people of the same sex, before legalizing marriage in 2009, which gradually became authorized in half of the 32 Mexican states.

Cuba, faced with the rejection of part of the population and of the Catholic and Evangelical Churches, gave up inscribing gay marriage in its new Constitution adopted in 2019. In the spring of 2021 a commission was created in charge of drafting a new Code of family, which should include same-sex marriage before being submitted to a referendum.

In Taiwan, Parliament legalized same-sex marriage in 2019, two years after a landmark ruling by the Constitutional Court.

In Japan, the first instance court in Sapporo (north) ruled in March 2021 that the non-recognition of same-sex marriage was unconstitutional, a first.

In the very repressive Middle East, Israel is a timid exception. Without being illegal, gay marriage is not possible there, for lack of an institution empowered to pronounce it, but is recognized when it has been contracted abroad.

In Oceania, New Zealand legalized same-sex marriage in 2013. Australia only authorized such unions in December 2017, by a vote in Parliament.

On an African continent where thirty countries prohibit homosexuality, South Africa stands out, having legalized gay marriage since 2006.


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