Switzerland Achieves Marriage Equality

Article adapted from an original post by Alex Bollinger here.

Switzerland, today, became the 29th Country on the planet to achieve marriage equality.

The Swiss National Council – the lower house of the country’s legislature – passed a bill today allowing same-sex couples to get married and to allow lesbian couples access to sperm banks in Switzerland.

“It’s a historic victory for the rights of the LGBTIQ community,” said Amnesty International in a statement to LGBTQ Nation.

Earlier in the month, the Council of States – the upper house of the country’s legislature – passed marriage equality with a vote of 22 to 15. Marriage equality legislation was first proposed by the Swedish Green Party in 2013.

One of the major questions in the legislative process was whether the bill would allow lesbian women to use sperm banks in Switzerland. Both the bills passed by the legislature allowed it, stirring opposition from the Christian Democratic Party (of course). The wife of the parent who gives birth to the child will also be listed on the birth certificate as the child’s second mother, but only if a couple goes to an officially recognized sperm bank.

Up to this time, same-sex couples in Switzerland were allowed to form domestic partnerships with limited rights, particular where adoption and immigration were concerned.

The Council of States rejected a motion that would have required a nationwide constitutional referendum on marriage equality, which would have significantly delayed the law. But pro-LGBTQ organizations say that it is still possible for a national referendum on marriage equality to be forced.

“If the opposition wants to start a referendum, we’re ready,” said Matthias Earhardt of the Rainbom Family Association, an LGBT organization in Switzerland.

“We have 82% of the population behind us and, thanks to the mobilizing strength of the LGBT community, our partner organizations and political parties support us,” he continued. “We are going to increase the acceptance of LGBT people in society even more if there is a referendum campaign.”