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SWISS REFERENDUM

First same-sex couples get married in Switzerland

The first same-sex couples tied the knot in Switzerland on Friday following a referendum that changed the landscape for gay rights in the country.

First same-sex couples get married in Switzerland
First same sex-couples married in Switzerland on Juy 1st. Image by Bhakti Kulmala from Pixabay

 Among the first to get married were Aline, 46, and Laure, 45, who have been together for 21 years and converted their civil union into marriage at the plush Palais Eynard in Geneva.

Beneath a sparkling chandelier in a mirrored salon, and with a dozen or so close friends and family in attendance, the couple exchanged touching words recalling their years together and love for each other.

Holding hands throughout the ceremony, they signed the official documents, followed by their witnesses.

“I am now very pleased to announce that you are officially married,” said the Mayor of Geneva, Marie Barbey-Chappuis, who conducted the first ceremony in person.

READ MORE: ‘Deviance and morality’: The history of the same-sex marriage movement in Switzerland

The room burst into applause as the couple exchanged a kiss.

“It was very moving. It’s a big moment and sends a very strong message to society — being free to love and be loved,” Barbey-Chappuis told AFP afterwards.

“The symbolism was particularly strong and the emotion too”.

It was high time that marriage became perfectly equal in Switzerland. “It marks a moment in the history of Switzerland and of the institution of marriage.”

Switzerland is one of the last remaining western European nations to adopt same-sex marriages. The Netherlands was the first to make the change in 2001.

The Swiss government’s plans to introduce “marriage for all” were challenged by opponents, who successfully triggered a referendum on the issue that was held last September. But 64.1 percent of voters backed the introduction of same-sex marriage in he wealthy Alpine nation.

Switzerland decriminalised homosexuality in 1942. Before Friday, same-sex  couples could only register a civil partnership. However, that status does not provide the same rights as marriage, including for obtaining citizenship and the joint adoption of children.

READ MORE: Everything that changes in Switzerland in July 2022

Same-sex couples can now marry in civil ceremonies and enjoy the same rights as other married couples.

Same-sex foreign spouses are now eligible to apply for citizenship through a simplified procedure and same-sex couples are now permitted to adopt jointly.

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SAME-SEX MARRIAGE

Same-sex marriage now legal in Switzerland

Nine months after a referendum, same-sex marriage is legal in Switzerland as of Friday, July 1st.

Same-sex marriage now legal in Switzerland

After Switzerland voted to legalise same-sex marriage in a nationwide referendum on September 26th, 2021, the new law has entered into force on July 1st.

Gay and lesbian couples will also be able to convert their registered partnership — which did not provide the same rights as marriage, including for obtaining citizenship and the joint adoption of children — will suffice to convert a current partnership.

READ MORE: ‘Deviance and morality’: The history of the same-sex marriage movement in Switzerland

Almost two-thirds of Swiss support same-sex marriage

On September 26th, 2021, Switzerland voted to legalise same-sex marriage, becoming one of the last countries in western Europe to do so. 

Nine months after the vote, the “marriage for all” law entered into force as of July 1st, 2022, the Federal Council announced.

From this date on, gay couples will be able to marry, though the preparatory procedure for marriage can be started before this date.

Same-sex couples can also to convert their registered partnership into marriage: a simple joint declaration to a civil status officer will suffice to convert a current partnership.

READ MORE: UPDATE: Swiss voters say big ‘yes’ to same-sex marriage

This law will be enacted after 64 percent of Swiss voters backed the move in a September 26th nationwide referendum.

Lengthy battle

Switzerland decriminalised homosexuality in 1942, but numerous local and regional police forces continued to keep “gay registers”, some into the early 1990s.

Same-sex couples can already register a civil partnership, with around 700 established each year.

READ MORE: Everything that changes in Switzerland in July 2022

However, this status does not provide the same rights as marriage, including for obtaining citizenship and the joint adoption of children.

After years of debate and discussion, the Swiss parliament approved a bill in December 2020 allowing same-sex couples to marry in the country of 8.6 million people.

But it was challenged under Switzerland’s direct democracy system, with opponents gathering the 50,000 signatures needed to put the issue to a referendum.

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