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Swiss voters say big ‘yes’ to same-sex marriage

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The Swiss population has backed the legalization of same-sex marriage via a referendum.

 Nearly two-thirds of Swiss voters backed the government’s plan to introduce same-sex marriage in a referendum held Sunday, with campaigners calling it a historic day for gay rights in Switzerland.

 Switzerland was one of the last countries in Western Europe where same-sex marriage remained illegal. 

The government’s “marriage for all” proposals was challenged by opponents, who successfully triggered a referendum.

 The Swiss have dropped a massive ‘yes’ into the ballot box,” Olga Baranov, a spokeswoman for the “yes” committee, told media. 

Today reflects the change of mentality over the last 20 years. It was really the reflection of a very broad and very important acceptance of LGBT people in society. 

Switzerland had decriminalized homosexuality in 1942, but numerous local and regional police forces continued to keep “gay registers”, some into the early 1990s. 

Same-sex couples can already register a civil partnership, with around 700 established each year.

However, this status does not provide the same rights as to marriage, including for obtaining citizenship and the joint adoption of children. 

After years of debate and discussion, the Swiss parliament approved a bill last December allowing same-sex couples to marry in the country of 8.6 million people. 

But it was challenged under Switzerland’s direct democracy system, with opponents gathering the 50,000 signatures needed to put the issue to a referendum.

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