Same sex marriage Photograph:( Reuters )
Switzerland is one of the few European countries where same-sex marriage is not legal
Switzerland's parliament on Friday approved a bill Friday allowing same-sex couples to marry, finally bringing the small Alpine nation into line with much of Europe on gay rights.
However, the final say depends on the Swiss themselves as the Christian, ultra-conservative Federal Democratic Union party has announced that it will ask for the legislation to be put to a referendum.
Switzerland is one of the few European countries where same-sex marriage is not legal. It is at the 25th position in terms of human rights for the LGBT community.
The country allows same-sex couples to enter into "registered partnerships", but this does not provide the same rights as to marriage, including for obtaining citizenship and the joint adoption of children.
After being approved by the two chambers of parliament, it moved to parliament 13 years after civil partnerships became legal in Switzerland.
The wording of the bill allows same-sex couples to access sperm donations to conceive children.
Switzerland passed a law specifically protecting lesbian, gay, and bisexual people from discrimination only in February.
Amnesty Switzerland wrote in a tweet, "This is a historic victory for the rights of the LGBTI* Community."
Endlich ist es soweit: Das Parlament hat in der Schlussabstimmung die #Ehefueralle beschlossen. Das ist ein historischer Sieg für die Rechte der LGBTI*-Community. Die Schweiz macht wichtige Fortschritte - noch bleibt aber einiges zu tun. 🌈🇨🇭 pic.twitter.com/gij9ict3au— Amnesty Schweiz (@Amnesty_Schweiz) December 18, 2020
The Rainbow Families association, set up in 2010 to defend the interests of gay parents in Switzerland, said it was preparing for the issue to be put to a popular vote.
"If the opponents launch a referendum, we're ready," said Matthias Erhardt, deputy president of the national committee specially set up on "marriage for all".
"We have 82 percent of the population behind us and, thanks to the mobilisation of the LBGT community, our partner organisations and the political parties who support us, we will be able to further increase acceptance of LGBT people in society," he said.