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Switzerland may legalise same-sex marriage next month

The majority of voters appear to support legal changes that would allow marriage equality in Switzerland, according to a new survey.

The country currently recognises legal partnerships but not marriages between same-sex couples.

Registered couples have many but not all of the same rights as married opposite-sex couples.

Same-sex couples cannot currently adopt a child or access assisted reproductive technologies.

The government’s proposed legislative change to amend the civil code will go to a vote next month, Le News has reported.

An overall 64% of survey respondents said they supported same-sex marriage, with 35% against it and just 1% undecided.

Younger people and city dwellers were more likely to indicate they would vote yes than their older and regional counterparts.

Support for marriage equality was highest in French-speaking regions of Switzerland, at 64%, and lowest in Italian-speaking areas, at 58%.

Other recent polls have estimated Swiss support for same-sex marriage at up to 81%.

The country is relatively progressive on LGBTIQ rights, with an equal age of consent, the right to easily change legal gender marker, and robust laws against discrimination and hate speech.

Following the government’s introduction last year of legislation for same-sex marriage, the public referendum is being held in response to a petition by the right-wing Federal Democratic Union of Switzerland that gathered over 60,000 signatures in opposition.

In Australia, same-sex marriage legislation was passed following a similar vote in 2017, with 61.6% of respondents voting for equality.

It followed the Howard Government’s explicit banning of same-sex marriage in 2004 and more than 20 attempts in Federal Parliament to recognise it. 

The Swiss vote will be held on 26 September.

A date for marriage equality to become effective if the legislation passes the referendum has not yet been set.

Switzerland is set to join 30 countries globally in recognising same-sex marriage.

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