Switzerland votes to make same-sex marriage legal by near two-thirds majority

Switzerland agreed to legalize civil marriage and the right to adopt children for same-sex couples by a nearly two-thirds majority in a referendum on Sunday.

 People take part in a rally marking the annual Gay Pride Parade in Jerusalem, on June 3, 2021.  (photo credit: NOAM REVKIN/FLASH90)
People take part in a rally marking the annual Gay Pride Parade in Jerusalem, on June 3, 2021.
(photo credit: NOAM REVKIN/FLASH90)

Switzerland agreed to legalize civil marriage and the right to adopt children for same-sex couples by a nearly two-thirds majority in a referendum on Sunday, making it one of the last countries in Western Europe to legalize gay marriage.

According to results provided by the Swiss federal chancellery, 64.1% of voters voted in favor of same-sex marriage in the nationwide referendum that was conducted under Switzerland's system of direct democracy.

"We are very happy and relieved," said Antonia Hauswirth of the national committee "Marriage for All," adding supporters would celebrate in Switzerland's capital Bern on Sunday.

Amnesty International said in a statement that opening civil marriage to same-sex couples was a "milestone for equality."

However, Monika Rueegger of Switzerland's right-wing Swiss People's Party (SVP) and member of the referendum committee "No to Marriage for All" said she was disappointed.

"This was not about love and feelings, it was about children's welfare. Children and fathers are the losers here," she told Reuters.

Swiss President Guy Parmelin holds a press conference with the European Commission president during a meeting at the European Commission building in Brussels, Belgium April 23, 2021. (credit: FRANCOIS WALSCHAERTS/POOL VIA REUTERS)Swiss President Guy Parmelin holds a press conference with the European Commission president during a meeting at the European Commission building in Brussels, Belgium April 23, 2021. (credit: FRANCOIS WALSCHAERTS/POOL VIA REUTERS)

The amended law will make it possible for same-sex couples to get married, and to adopt children unrelated to them. Married lesbian couples will also be allowed to have children through sperm donation, currently legal only for married heterosexual couples.

It will also make it easier for foreign spouses of a Swiss individual to get citizenship.

Swiss Justice Minister Karin Keller-Sutter told a media briefing the new rules would likely come into force on July 1 next year.

In a separate referendum, 64.9% of Swiss voters rejected a proposal to introduce a capital gains tax.