The Swiss have voted ‘yes’ to same-sex marriage
GENEVA — Cheers rang out and hugs were exchanged as Switzerland voted to allow same-sex couples to marry, according to the final results of a nationwide referendum.
Official results showed the measure passed with 64.1 per cent of the vote while more than half of all voters approved in each of Switzerland’s 26 cantons, or states.
Justice Minister Karin Keller-Sutter said on Twitter that the government would implement the decision quickly and, under current plans, the new rules can take effect on July 1.
Switzerland’s parliament and the governing Federal Council — on which she sits — had supported the “Marriage for All” measure, which marks a key step for greater rights for gays and lesbians in Switzerland. The country has authorized same-sex civil partnerships since 2007.
“With this, all couples will in the future be treated equally before the law: all can enter into a civil marriage, with the same rights and obligations,” Keller-Sutter wrote.
“This is a historic day for us and for Switzerland, this is a great step forward, something we have been waiting for for years,” said Laura Russo, co-president of the Geneva Federation of LGBT Associations, at a gathering of joyous supporters of the measure along a Geneva pedestrian street. “This initiative was begun in 2013; we had to wait 8 years for the vote to happen — and here, this is a big ‘Yes.’”
Switzerland, which has a population of 8.5 million, is traditionally conservative and only extended the right to vote to all women in the country in 1990.
Most countries in Western Europe already recognize same-sex marriage, while most of those in Central and Eastern Europe don’t permit wedlock between two men or two women.