By a nearly two-thirds majority in a vote on Sunday, Switzerland legalizes same-sex couples’ civil marriage and their ability to adopt children. Thereby, making it one of the last countries in Western Europe to do so.
In a statewide referendum held under Switzerland’s direct democracy system, 64.1 percent of voters voted in favor of same-sex marriage. It is according to figures released by the Swiss federal chancellery.
“We are very happy and relieved,” said Antonia Hauswirth of the national committee “Marriage for All”. Further, adding supporters would celebrate in Switzerland’s capital Bern on Sunday.
Switzerland legalizes and opening civil marriage to same-sex couples, according to Amnesty International, is a “milestone for equality.”
Monika Rueegger, a member of the referendum committee “No to Marriage for All” and a member of Switzerland’s right-wing Swiss People’s Party (SVP), expressed disappointment.
“This was not about love and feelings, it was about children’s welfare. Children and fathers are the losers here,” she told Reuters.
Same-sex couples will be able to marry and adopt children who are not related to them under the new law. Married lesbian couples will be able to conceive children via sperm donation. It is presently only available to married heterosexual couples.
It will also make obtaining citizenship for foreign spouses of Swiss citizens easier.
The new rules are also likely to take effect from July 1 next year, according to Swiss Justice Minister Karin Keller-Sutter.
A plan to impose a capital gains tax was defeated by 64.9 percent of Swiss voters in a separate referendum.