Switzerland ‘Marriage for All’ Bill Passes in Historic Vote

Lawmakers in Switzerland on Friday gave final approval to a marriage equality bill first introduced seven years ago.

The “Marriage for All” legislation passed in the National Council, which is the Federal Assembly’s lower house, by a 136-48 vote margin, even with the conservative Swiss People’s Party holding a 53-seat majority. The Council of States, the Federal Assembly’s upper house, approved the bill by a 24-11 vote margin.

“Yes!” the Swiss Rainbow Families Association tweeted following Friday’s vote, which also grants the country’s lesbian couples access to sperm donation, a sticking point for the bill’s conservative opponents. 

Maria von Känel, vice president of the Swiss Rainbow Families Association, told the Washington Blade on Tuesday that a referendum challenge to the new law is expected, but should fail to gain much public support. 

A survey that Pink Cross, a Swiss LGBTQ advocacy group, conducted in February found 81 percent of Swiss voters support same-sex marriage, including 67 percent of respondents who said they are members of the Swiss People’s Party.

ILGA-Europe Advocacy Director Katrin Hugendubel also told the Blade that her organization supports Switzerland’s hard-fought vote, which now aligns them with most of western Europe in terms of marriage equality, but noted “rainbow families” still face challenges. 

Von Känel said the next step is to challenge barriers to same-sex parents to adopting children, particularly those born abroad.