Swiss voters appear to have made a clear decision to allow same-sex couples to marry and adopt children, according to a projection after a national referendum on Sunday.
A projection by the gfs.bern polling agency for Swiss public broadcasters showed that 64% of voters supported legalizing same-sex marriage, while only 36% voted against the measures.
The Swiss federal government and parliament had already approved the amended “marriage for all” law, but opponents led by the Swiss People’s Party (SVP) forced a referendum on the issue under the country’s direct democracy system. .
The Alpine nation has allowed same-sex civil partnerships since 2007, despite being one of the last countries in Europe to ban same-sex marriage.
The amended law will allow same-sex couples to marry and adopt unrelated children.
Married lesbian couples would also be allowed to have children through sperm donation, which is currently only legal for married heterosexual couples. It will also make it easier to obtain nationality for foreign spouses of Swiss citizens.
Opponents of the law have been criticized for allegedly using unfair tactics during their campaign.
In a provocative campaign, activists used images of crying babies as LGBT hotlines were inundated with complaints and hostile emails. This marked a stark contrast to supporters waving “Yes, I do” rainbow flags during the pride parades in Zurich and Geneva.
Gay couple Corinne Guntern and Anouk Oswald, from Zurich, told the Reuters news agency that the vote was an important step for their future.
“I want to be able to choose for myself whether I want to marry this partner next to me and if it’s the right way for us to start a family,” said Ms. Oswald, 30. “It’s important to show the younger generation that you don’t need to hide.
Ms Guntern, also 30, said it was not fair that a single woman could adopt a child when a same-sex couple could not.
“Today, if I reach a certain age and am single, regardless of my sexual orientation, I can be accepted into the adoption process and apply to adopt a child. But if I’m in a same-sex partnership, right now I can’t, ”she said.
“Of course a child needs security and love… but I don’t think it makes a difference whether it’s given by a straight or gay couple,” she added.
Most Western European countries already recognize same-sex marriage. The Netherlands was the first country in the world to legalize same-sex marriage in 2001, followed by Belgium in 2003 and Spain in 2005.
The final result of the Swiss referendum is expected to be announced later Sunday afternoon.
Additional reporting by Associated Press and Reuters.
The Independent Gt