ZURICH, December 3, 2003 ( – The Swiss lower House of Parliament voted 111 to 72 in favour a law allowing legal partnership registration for homosexual couples that would grant nearly all the benefits of marriage except automatic child adoption rights, access to fertility treatment and common surname.  Meanwhile, the city of Zurich has enacted legislation allowing for the registered partnerships and five homosexual couples were registered Tuesday.  Christian Waber of the conservative political party Federal Democratic Union, has said the issue will be taken to a referendum if the measure passes in the federal senate.  “Common property rights can be covered by wills, and civil law can be used to guarantee access to information,” said Waber. “Gay and lesbian couples already have rights as citizens, and those rights are guaranteed in the sense that they are not discriminated against,” he said.  “The state can only protect lifestyles that actually guarantee its future – and that means the family and children.”  The spokesman for the Swiss Bishops Conference was weak in his defence of the Church’s opposition to the measure and apologetically explained why the church considered biblical texts on homosexuality as “still relevant”.  Dr Agnell Rickenmann, the general secretary of the Swiss Bishops Conference, told swissinfo, “For us it is important that a legalisation and a non-discrimination of homosexual partners does not signify that such a partnership is exactly the same as a marriage, as a heterosexual couple living together.”  He added, “The biblical position with the condemnation of homosexual acts tries to guarantee the protection of family and the harmony in social and family life in this sense we consider this position is still relevant.”  See coverage from Swissinfo: