Will the Swiss vote for gay marriage in Sunday’s referendum?

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9/24/21

Twenty years after the Netherlands became the first in Europe to legalise same-sex marriage, Switzerland is among the last Western European countries where it is still outlawed. But that may change after a national referendum on Sunday (September 26) when the wealthy Alpine nation will vote on whether to allow gay and lesbian couples to wed. Recent polls suggest Swiss voters are on track to say yes to the “Marriage For All” (Ehe Fuer Alle) reform, with 63% of respondents in support, 35% opposed and 2% undecided. But after a highly polarised campaign that pitted LGBT activists against conservative opponents, supporters are not claiming victory just yet. “When you’re favourite to win, the danger is that people in favour of the reform demobilise and suddenly, it is the opposing camp that wins. That’s why despite the overwhelmingly positive polls, we are redoubling our efforts to really make sure all the people with the right to vote use it,” said Olga Baranova, who manages the “Marriage For All” campaign. If the reform is voted, it would be of “huge significance,” said Thierry Delessert, a historian at the University of Lausanne, who specialises in LGBT issues in Switzerland. “Until the early 2020s, what dominated was a discourse of differentiated equality,” the expert told Euronews. “But marriage means full equality, with LGBT people recognised as citizens on a par with other citizens — not just equal with fewer or particular rights.” But opponents fear the measure could erode traditional family values. “Marriage and family are closely linked because children are born naturally only from the union of a man and a woman,” says the interparty committee “No to marriage for all.”

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