Swiss say ‘yes’ to gay marriage, adoption, and sperm donation for lesbians
36% voted ‘no’ in the referendum. The Swiss Evangelical Alliance expresses “sadness” over an outcome that “puts desires of adults over rights of children”.
BERN · 27 SEPTEMBER 2021 · 10:17 CET
Switzerland approved gay marriage in a referendum on 26 September, with a majority of 64% ‘yes’ votes.
Same-sex civil unions were already legal in the country, but now all rights of heterosexual marriages will be applied to LGBT couples as well. This includes the controversial right to adopt children, and access to sperm donation banks in the case of lesbian couples - children will not have access to information about their biological father until they turn 18.
The Swiss Federal Parliament had approved this move in December 2020, but conservative politicians and civil society groups collected over 50,000 signatures to force an open referendum.
After the vote, Justice Minister Karin Keller-Sutter celebrated the outcome and said the Swiss state would “not impose on citizens how they should lead their lives”.
The turnout in this referendum, which also included a second question about taxes, was of around 52% of eligible voters.
Media in Switzerland and outside the country underline the strong campaign for the “no” of free evangelical churches and movements. “Members of some Christian congregations and the right-wing Swiss People's Party (SVP) — Switzerland's largest political party — were some of the strongest opponents”, said the German news website Deutsche Welle.
Among them was the Swiss Evangelical Alliance, whose Secretary General was invited to debate the issue on national television and radio.
The SEA commented on the vote on expressing its “sadness” over the result. The decision went “too far because it does not take the rights and wellbeing of children seriously enough (…) The desires of adults triumphed over the rights of children”.
The evangelical body added that it will now be very “strong” in defending the religious freedom and freedom of conscience when the debate about homosexual marriages is moved to the area of religious settings. “The legal definition of marriage does not force religious communities to adapt their rituals or sacraments”, the SEA underlined.
The Swiss Evangelical Alliance called to protect the right of churches to hold and express their core doctrines when the 2020 referendum gave special protection to LGBT people in the area of hate speech.