Swiss voters approve same-sex marriage by clear margin in referendum

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Voters in Switzerland have thrown their support behind allowing same-sex couples to marry, bringing the Alpine nation in line with many other countries in Western Europe.

Official referendum results showed the measure passed with 64.1% of voters in favour and won a majority in all of Switzerland’s 26 cantons, or states.

Switzerland’s parliament and the governing Federal Council had supported the Marriage For All measure.

The country has authorised same-sex civil partnerships since 2007.

Election posters near Geneva
Referendum posters near Geneva (Salvatore Di Nolfi/Keystone via AP)

It would also permit lesbian couples to utilise regulated sperm donation.

Opponents said that replacing civil partnerships with full marriage rights would undermine families based on a union between one man and one woman.

At a polling station in Geneva on Sunday, voter Anna Leimgruber said she had cast her ballot for the “no” camp because she believed “children would need to have a dad and a mum”.

But Nicolas Dzierlatka, who voted “yes”, said that what children needed was love.

“I think what’s important for children is that they are loved and respected — and I think there are children who are not respected or loved in so-called ‘hetero’ couples,” he said.

The Zurich Pride parade earlier this month
The Zurich Pride parade earlier this month (Michael Buholzer/Keystone via AP)

Switzerland, which has a population of 8.5 million, is traditionally conservative and only extended the right to vote to all its women in 1990.

Most countries in Western Europe already recognise same-sex marriage, while most of those in Central and Eastern Europe do not allow two men or two women to marry.

Supporters said it could still be months before same-sex couples could get married, mainly because of administrative and legislative procedures.

Also on Sunday, voters dismissed a proposal spearheaded by left-wing groups to raise taxes on returns from investments and capital such as dividends or income from rental properties in Switzerland as a way to ensure better redistribution and fairer taxation.

Results showed 64.9% of people voted against the proposal in a country known for its vibrant financial sector and relatively low taxes, and as a haven for many of the world’s richest people. No canton voted in favour of the measure.

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