Switzerland will hold a referendum on whether or not same-sex marriage will be legal. Swiss MP’s had adopted a bill in December recognising same-sex marriage, but now the decision will go to referendum.
Most laws and acts come into effect without ever asking citizens to vote, however, Switzerland’s largest party, the populist SVP, said they would launch a bid to have a referendum held for the legislation to be made.
The SVP outlined that it is “intolerable to want to place marriage on an equal footing with any form of cohabitation.”
The Swiss Federal Chancellery outlined that the request for this referendum gathered more than 60,000 signatures. This will lead Switzerland to follow suit with Ireland in holding a referendum to have the legislation changed by popular vote.
A same-sex marriage bill was initially adopted in 2020 after a huge battle in Parliament and support from the Green Liberals party. Prior to this piece of legislation, same-sex couples could enter into “registered partnerships” but these did not give the same rights as marriage to citizens.
Discussing the referendum, managing director of gay rights group Pink Cross, Roman Heggli, told euronews that “It’s really about time after more than 20 years that Switzerland finally takes this step.”
“It’s a really big step in the acceptance of gay people in general .. it would make a huge difference,” Heggli continued, but admitted that if the referendum rejected same-sex marriage it would be “a huge catastrophe” for Switzerland. However, a survey commissioned by Pink Cross in 2020 showed that there was more than 80% support for same-sex marriage in the country, which bodes well for a positive result.
Currently, there is no date set for the same-sex referendum in Switzerland but citizens are used to voting three or four times a year on various issues under the Swiss system of direct democracy.
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