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Voters set to support same-sex marriage in Switzerland


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Voters set to support same-sex marriage in Switzerland

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Bern – Swiss voters have backed same-sex marriage in a referendum, according to projections.

More than 60 per cent supported the measure, which would bring the country into line with most of western Europe.

In the build up to the vote, church groups and conservative political parties opposed the idea, saying it would undermine the traditional family.

Switzerland has allowed same-sex couples to register partnerships since 2007, but some rights are restricted.

The measure will make it possible for same-sex couples to adopt unrelated children and for married lesbian couples to have children through sperm donation.

Marriage for All national committee member Antonia Hauswith said supporters would celebrate in the capital Bern on Sunday.

“We are very happy and relieved,” she told Reuters news agency.

But Monika Rueegger, a politician with the right-wing Swiss People’s Party and an opponent of the measure, said children and fathers were the losers.

“This was not about love and feelings,” she told Reuters. “It was about children’s welfare.”

Over the last 20 years most countries in western Europe have recognised same-sex marriage but in Switzerland many big decisions go to a nationwide ballot.

The BBC’s Imogen Foulkes in Geneva says this makes social change notoriously slow.

The new law, which had the backing of the Swiss government and all major political parties except the People’s Party, was passed by parliament in December.

However, it was then challenged by opponents, who gathered enough signatures to force a referendum.

Polls closed at 12:00 local time and full results are expected in several hours. (BBC)

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