Switzerland to Hold Referendum on Same-Sex Marriage

Switzerland will hold a referendum on whether to go ahead on legalizing same-sex marriage, the government confirmed on April 27.

Opponents of the legislation that recognized same-sex marriage gained over 60,000 valid signatures for the referendum “against ‘marriage for all'” to take place, according to the Swiss Federal Chancellery.

A date for the vote has yet to be set.

Members of the populist Swiss People’s Party (SVP), who said they would try to bring about a referendum, said that it was “intolerable to want to place marriage on an equal footing with any form of cohabitation.”

Two chambers of the Swiss parliament passed the legislation last December after multiple rounds of debate since 2013 and years after most of other western European nations have recognized same-sex marriage.

The legislation allowed same-sex couples to marry and have access to sperm donations. In addition, transgender citizens could change their legal gender with a declaration.

Before the legislation, same-sex couples in Switzerland can register a civil partnership, but it does not grant the same rights as marriage, such as obtaining citizenship and the joint adoption of children.

Under the Swiss system of direct democracy, the public can challenge new laws through a referendum if they can collect over 50,000 valid signatures within 100 days of the official publication of the legislation.

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