Switzerland is experiencing a new chapter in the fight for the rights of the LGTBI collective in the country this weekend, after the approval of the gay marriage bill that the conservatives have managed to lead to a referendum to be held this Sunday. Thus, Switzerland, one of the few countries in Western Europe that still does not recognize equal marriage, along with others such as Italy, Greece or Liechtenstein, could be removed from this list.
Until now, and pending the result of Sunday’s vote, gay couples in Switzerland can only become ‘de facto couples’, since the approval of this law in 2007. Last December, Parliament had approved the homosexual marriage bill, which allowed same-sex couples to marry under the same conditions as heterosexual couples, adopt and use sperm banks in the case of lesbians, in addition to providing facilities for obtaining nationality to foreign spouses, according to The Guardian.
However, and despite the parliamentary majority, the law met with opposition from the ultra-conservative Federal Democratic Union party, which managed to collect up to 70,000 signatures, in a country of 8.5 million inhabitants, against the measure. , which has forced the Swiss government to hold a referendum on its final approval.
The importance of the referendum in Switzerland
According to the Swiss Constitution, citizens have the ability to veto any parliamentary initiative by submitting it to a referendum if the endorsement of at least 50,000 citizens is obtained. This means that the country has a long tradition of referendums, holding dozens of votes at the federal, cantonal and communal levels in recent decades on issues such as suppressing free movement with the EU, prohibiting the use of the burqa or against the climate law.
The latest gfs.bern poll shows that the proportion of voters who favor same-sex marriage has fallen from 69% to 63% while the proportion of voters against has increased from 29% to 35%, according to picks up Reuters. Meanwhile, in the Lower House, equal marriage was approved in December by 136 votes in favor, 48 against and nine abstentions; and it was ratified in the Upper House by 24 to 11 and seven abstentions.