Swiss vote highlights Europe’s east-west divide on gay marriage

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09/30/2021

After Swiss voters overwhelmingly backed same-sex marriage in a referendum on Sunday, LGBT groups in the country hailed a “historic day” for Switzerland. But the Swiss vote also marks a turning point for LGBT rights in Europe: all of Western Europe, except Italy, is now allowing gay and lesbian couples to wed. Meanwhile, in Central and Eastern Europe, marriage equality continues to face fierce opposition. In many countries, including Poland and Hungary, it is even subjected to a constitutional ban. “The Swiss vote is really a huge achievement. It’s been a very long process following the tireless efforts of activists over the years and it’s amazing to see how clear the vote was. And of course, such a vote then resonates across borders as well,” said Katrin Hugendubel, Advocacy Director at ILGA-Europe, an LGBT rights group. “Of course, we do hope that there will be movement in other countries because it’s not only about the institution of marriage being open to everyone — it’s really because it’s such a symbol of full equality and recognition of same-sex love and same-sex couples,” Hugendubel went on.

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