Swiss Referendum Ushers in Civil Unions for Gays

Mon Jun 6, 2005 - 12:15 pm EST

GENEVA, June 6, 2005 ( – Swiss voters approved a law created last year that allows same-sex couples civil union status, with most of the same privileges accorded to married heterosexual couples – including inheritance rights, pensions, joint taxation, and the option of next-of-kin visiting rights for hospitals.

The “registered partnership” law created last year by Swiss lawmakers was challenged by a pro-family coalition, whose 50,000-strong petition ensured them the right to a referendum on the issue. Although 58 percent of voters nation-wide supported a change to allow same-sex couples legal status, regions with a high degree of opposition to the measure were centered in the predominantly Catholic cantons of Appenzell, Ticino and Valais, according to a Reuters report. Only 56 percent of the total population of 4.8-million actually took part in the vote.

On a positive note for pro-family advocates, the new legislation specifically outlaws adoption and assisted reproduction, including artificial insemination by same-sex couples.

Fribourg, Geneva and Lausanne Catholic diocesan spokesman Nicolas Betticher said the law was akin to a “pseudo-marriage” for homosexuals. Evangelical Party member Ruedi Aeschbacher, a campaign leader who opposed the law, described the loss as a “worrying development.”


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