Switzerland is due to hold a vote on September 26 on whether or not to go ahead and legalise same-sex marriages.

Although the Swiss Parliament in December 2020 passed a bill recognising same-sex marriages, conservative politicians raised enough signatures to take the matter to a national referendum as they call for a “protection of traditions”.

Conservatives Forced A National Vote

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Switzerland’s system of direct democracy allows any law gathering at least 50,000 signatures within 100 days to be vetoed by the public resulting in a referendum. The same-sex legalization law gathered 61,027 valid signatures in favor of determining through a national vote.

The bill which has become known as the “marriage for all” project was initially put forward by the Liberal Greens in 2013, and after years of debate the initiative was accepted by a large majority in Parliament back in December.

“The state should not dictate to people how they should organise their private and family lives,” said Karin Keller-Sutter, head of the Federal Department of Justice and Police, in a statement.

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Polls from 2020 indicate that 82% of voters strongly support the legalisation of same-sex marriages.

Tens of thousands protest at Zurich Pride

Switzerland is one of the few European countries where same-sex couples do not have equal marriage rights.

The legalisation of same-sex marriages is well overdue according to protesters who, on Saturday, marched at Zurich Pride with banners reading slogans like “You can do it. Marriage for everyone now”. 

Many participants held up banners that read  read “Ja, ich will!” (Yes, I do) – the official slogan of Switzerland’s “Marriage for All” movement.

Currently, same-sex couples in Switzerland are only able to be in a registered partnership, which does not give them the same legal rights as marriage does.

If Switzerland votes ‘yes’ on the 26th, it will also enable queer couples to adopt, as well as allow female queer couples to have children through sperm donation.

If passed the words “bride” and “groom” will be replaced with either “two people” or “the engaged”, allowing all queer couples to marry.

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