How did Switzerland democratically legalize same-sex marriages?

LGBTQIA+ Sep 30, 2021

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It seems one of the Alpine Nations is aligning with many others in Western Europe, as the Swiss voters have decided by a clear margin of 64.1% votes to allow same-sex couples to marry. The Swiss parliament and the governing federal council supported the “Marriage for All” campaign, and referendum polls show solid backing for this measure.

The first same-sex marriage should be able to take place from July 1 next year, as quoted by Justice minister Karin Keller-Sutter.

This makes Switzerland the world’s 30th country to do so, with Netherlands being the first in 2001.

Supporters heavily applauded the measure as it would give same-sex partners an equal legal status with heterosexual couples by allowing them to adopt children together and providing citizenship for same-sex spouses. It would also make lesbian couples legible to use sperm donations.

Critics on the other hand argued that it would undermine family structure, which is based on a union between a man and a woman. The campaign has fuelled speculations about the unfair tactics, with those against the referendum ripping down posters, abusing campaigners, and silencing contradicting views. They suggested that it would be used by foreigners to get citizenship by just marrying Swiss people.

However, the global divide on homosexuality is prevalent as the public opinions globally are majorly shaped by not only on the economic development of the region but also on the religious and political attitudes.

Having said that, those in Eastern Europe, Russia, Ukraine, Sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East were found reluctant to support this campaign. On the other hand, people in the Asia-Pacific region found themselves in a conundrum about the same, as stated by the Spring 2019 Global Attitudes Survey by PEW Research Center.

They also stated that those who were affiliated with religious groups and politically-right, tend to be less accepting than those who were unaffiliated and on the left of the political spectrum.

The Central Government of India, in February this year, opposed same sex-marriage by stating that marriage is a union between a “biological man” and a “biological woman” which are capable of producing young ones. This statement highlights the mindset of the people in the country, and the plight of the homosexual community.

“Today reflects the change of mentality over the last 20 years.” Olga Baranova, a spokeswoman for the “yes” committee, said. Meanwhile, in India, the fundamental right to marry a person of one’s own choice is not yet a blanket statement. About three dozen countries have legalized same-sex marriage but when it comes to the Indian diaspora, respecting the Indian-version of family structure has always been the only solution. So the vital question that arises is whether India should change its norms with changes in time?

This article was written by Shrawan Deogirkar for The Paradigm.

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