• Switzerland's news in English

Gays win limited support for adopting kids

AFP · 13 Dec 2012, 18:23

Published: 13 Dec 2012 18:23 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

With 113 votes in favour and 64 against, the 200-seat house on Thursday opted to allow gays to adopt any biological or adopted children that their partner had before the start of their relationship.

The lower house, or National Council, thus tiptoed in the footsteps of the senate, or State Council, which adopted a far broader measure in March.

Switzerland's largest party, the populist right-wing Swiss People's Party (SVP), had called on the lower house to reject Thursday's motion, insisting children should have a
mother and a father.

"If we accept this Senate motion today, we are opening a Pandora's box," warned SVP's Oskar Freysinger ahead of the vote.

The motion was "radical and goes against nature," agreed Christian Luescher of the Free Democratic Party, which was split down the middle on the issue.

"Nature wants a child to have a father and a mother, not two fathers or two mothers," he insisted.

Other critics in parliament meanwhile said that the change did not go far enough and criticised the chamber for not passing the same motion voted through the upper house of parliament.

That version allowed adoption for all adults, regardless of their lifestyles or marital status.

Socialist Carlos Sommaruga, who voted in favour of Thursday's motion, meanwhile described it as a "first small step" to help children already living with same-sex parents.

He stressed that the current law, which explicitly bans adoption by homosexuals in registered partnerships but not by single gays, was "incoherent" and "leads to distortions and absurd situations."

Cathy Ecoffoy, the co-president of the Swiss association Rainbow Families, also stressed the irony of the current law.

"If you have a God-daughter, for instance, who loses her parents, you are not allowed to adopt her because you are in a partnership," she told AFP.

Although Ecoffoy would have preferred the March motion, she welcomed Thursday's vote as a step in the right direction.

"We enthusiastically hail this vote because it takes into account the reality for children . . . who until now have been raised in an unjust way," she said.

She pointed out that children already living with same-sex couples have no legal rights in relation to their non-biological parent, with for instance no guarantees they can continue living with that person if the biological parent were to die.

Any law change on this issue meanwhile cannot be expected for quite a while.

Thursday's vote means the upper house will now need to vote on the narrower motion and if approved, the government will be asked to draw up a proposal
that will be resubmitted to a new parliamentary vote.

In light of the sensitive nature of the issue, observers say opponents might very well manage to gather the 100,000 signatures needed for it to be put to a national referendum.

Switzerland has since 2005 allowed homosexuals to enter into legally binding registered partnerships, but that law explicitly banned gays in partnerships from adopting.

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Illegal immigrant dies after setting himself on fire
The victim was treated at University Hospital Zurich. Photo: University Hospital Zurich

The 45-year-old Tunisian was threatened with deportation.

Swiss government rejects call for second immigration vote
Photo: Justus Blumer/Christophe G

The Swiss government has rejected a popular initiative calling for a revote on plans to limit immigration.

Bern: companies should report salary inequality by law
File photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP

The Swiss government wants to force small companies to examine their rates of pay every four years.

Husband in custody after Orbe body identified
File photo: Bas Leenders

The deceased is a 55-year-old woman who lived in the house with her husband.

Presented by MoneyPark
How to get a mortgage in Switzerland
Houses in Zürich. Photo: Pixabay.

Ready to buy? Here’s what you need to know as an expat about Swiss regulations, how to finance your purchase, and why you should use a broker.

Autumn in Switzerland: ten stunning Instagram photos
Photo: Swiss Tourism/Jan Geerk

Switzerland is beautiful in all seasons, but as these photos show, autumn is a special time in the alpine country.

Report: Swiss progress slows on gender equality
File photo: David Soulivet

Globally, it will take 170 years to achieve gender equality, according to the World Economic Forum.

Brothers go to court to stop suicide of sibling
File photo: Lisa Edmonds

Two men have filed a legal bid to prevent the Swiss assisted suicide association Exit from helping their older brother to kill himself.

Wawrinka snubs past form to reach Basel second round
Wawrinka beat local wildcard Marco Chiudinelli. Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP

US Open champion Stan Wawrinka has reached the second round in Basel after going out in the first round for the past four years.

Villagers asked to help fund bridge renovations
The bridge links the two villages of Veltheim (pictured) and Holderbank. Photo: Lutz Fischer-Lamprecht

The crowdfunding campaign by the two communes is the first of its kind in Switzerland.

Photo: Unterirdisch Ueberleben
Inside Switzerland’s largest nuclear bunker – 40 years on
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Photo: The Local
Ticino firefighters rescue cow from swimming pool
Photo: Antoni Da Campo
Vegan wins battle to be accepted by Swiss army
Photo: Swiss Tourism
Ten Swiss ski resorts named most expensive in Europe
Photo: Randy Kashka
Swiss women will ‘work for free’ for the rest of year
Photo: Swiss Tourism
Montreux throws hat in Olympic rings
Photo: Swiss Tourism
Seven things you’ll miss about Switzerland if you leave
Photo: Richard Juilliard/AFP
Man makes Geneva airport bomb threat ‘for a joke’
Photo: AFP
Solar Impulse team reveals plans for unmanned plane
File photo: Martin Abegglen
Swiss to vote on passport rules for 3rd gen foreigners
Photo: AFP
Swiss wingsuit hotspot Lauterbrunnen won’t impose ban
Photo: Swiss Tourism
Six reasons Switzerland isn’t as boring as you might think
Photo: Swiss Tourism
Report: Switzerland one of world’s best places for girls
Photo: The Local
Thief returns Swiss cow bells worth thousands
File photo: Wikimedia Commons
One in three rapists isn’t locked up: statistics
Photo: activistin.ch
Tampon-tax protest turns Zurich fountains red
Photo: AFP
Geneva police to lift ban on bearded officers
Photo: Marcel Gillieron/AFP
Suicide chef’s restaurant keeps Michelin stars
Photo: Lara de Salis
11 things the Swiss get tired of hearing abroad
Photo:  Ivo Scholz/Swiss-image.ch
Survey: expats in Switzerland have money but few friends
Photo: AFP
Swiss press criticize Bern’s 'capitulation' on immigration
Photo: Jura Trois Lacs tourism
German ex-policeman is Swiss city’s new hermit
Photo: Dmitry A. Mottl
Ticino votes to favour local workers over foreigners
jobs available