The Swiss population resoundingly voted to allow same-sex couples to marry, final results of a nationwide referendum showed on Sunday. Official results showed the measure passed with 64.1% 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 tweeted that the government will 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.
“This is a historic day for us and for Switzerland, this is a great step forward, something we have been waiting 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.'”
Opponents believe that replacing civil partnerships with full marriage rights would undermine families based on a union between a man and a woman. Benjamin Roduit of the Christian Democratic People’s Party, which led the effort to stop same-sex marriage, claimed a degree of success in raising awareness about his party’s positions despite the defeat at the ballot box.
“On our side we have tried to draw attention to the central problem, the one of children and medically assisted procreation,” he said. “On that point, I think we have succeeded in raising awareness among the Swiss people and we will still be here when other steps will be proposed.”
ARTICLE: PAUL MURDOCH
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: WTVR.COM
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