Swiss edge closer to gay adoption

Switzerland's upper house of parliament, the Council of States, decided on Wednesday by 21 votes to 19 to give same-sex couples the right to adopt children.

Swiss edge closer to gay adoption
Patrik Millikin

The Council determined that anyone should be able to adopt a child, regardless of their choice of lifestyle, so long as such adoption would be in the best interests of the child, Swiss news agency SDA reported.

In addition, although the type of marriage would not be a determining factor, applicants seeking to adopt must be in some form of registered partnership.

Those in favour of the change in regulations have pointed to the changing face of family dynamics, and the reality that many children do not grow up in what would be considered “traditional” family constellations.

Urs Schwaller of the Christian Democratic Party said that, while he did not doubt that gay and lesbian people could take of children as well as heterosexuals, there was in his view no need to give them rights to adopt, gay information website reported.

Conservative politicians are concerned that the rights of registered partnerships are becoming increasingly aligned to those of traditional marriages, gradually eroding the status of marriage. Schwaller maintained that this is not what the Swiss people want, the website reported.

The lower house, the National Council, must now consider the motion before it can pass into law.

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Thousands march at Zurich gay pride festival

Some eight thousand demonstrators took to the streets of Zurich on Saturday for the Gay Pride march through the city.

Thousands march at Zurich gay pride festival
Zurich Pride Festival

The march was observed by about 15,000 spectators, who lined the streets amid a wave of colour, online new site NZZ Online reported. The demonstrators marched for the rights of gay, bisexual, transsexual and intersexual people.

Justice Minister Simonetta Sommaruga gave a speech in the late afternoon to the participants, and received much applause for her promise to stand up for laws that protect against discrimination of gay and lesbian people.

“Your participation in this festival is an advertisement for tolerance and openness,” she said.

Sommaruga warned that simply changing the laws was not sufficient to tackle discrimination. She pointed to the fact that discrimination against homosexuals is still common in today’s society, and appealed to people to change these attitudes by speaking out against such behaviour.

Nathalie Schaltegger, the president of the Zurich Pride Festival, praised Swiss cities for being comparatively tolerant, the website reported. She also asked the demonstrators to show support for homosexuals in countries further afield where homosexuals still face persecution and even the death penalty.