Switzerland Votes to Legalize Same-Sex Marriage

Some 64% of Swiss voters supported to legalize same-sex marriage in a referendum held on Sept. 26, according to official results.

More than half of all voters in each of Switzerland’s 26 cantons voted to approve same-sex marriage, with the strongest support coming from Basel City at 74%.

Campaigners say that the results were a historic moment for LGBT rights in the country as it made Switzerland one of the last western European countries to legalize same-sex marriage.

Olga Baranova, a spokeswoman for the “yes” committee, also told AFP News that the referendum “does not change my country,” but “reflects the change of mentality over the last 20 years. It is really the reflection of a very broad and very important acceptance of LGBT people in society.”

The measure will grant same-sex couples the same rights as other married couples, allowing them to marry in civil ceremonies and to adopt unrelated children.

The measure will also allow a woman married to another woman to have children through sperm donation.

Justice Minister Karin Keller-Sutter said that the first same-sex marriages would take place from July 1 next year.

“Whoever loves each other and wants to get married will be able to do so, regardless of whether it is two men, two women, or a man and a woman,” Keller-Sutter said in an AFP News report.

“The state does not have to tell citizens how they should lead their lives,” Keller-Sutter added.

The Swiss Parliament passed the “Marriage for All” legislation last December with the support of all major political parties, except for the People’s Party. Opponents then challenged the measure, gathering enough signatures to call for a referendum.

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