The government decided to extend the existing legal ban on racism and religious discrimination to discrimination based on sexual orientation.
Some, who see this as limit to free expression and a form of censorship, launched a referendum to stop the government’s plan. In addition, they argue hate crimes are already punishable under the law.
If implemented the change would ban actions in public involving discrimination based on sexual orientation that violate human dignity and create a climate of hate that compromises peaceful coexistence. For example, no individual or business would be allowed to refuse services to someone on the basis of their sexual orientation.
Anyone breaking these rules would face the same criminal charges as someone engaging in public racism or religious discrimination. However, the rules would not apply to conversations among family or friends.
The Federal Council, parliament and Council of States all support the initiative and the legal changes it endorses. 121 members of the National Council, Switzerland’s parliament, are in favour of it and 67 are against it. There were 8 abstentions. 30 members of the Council of States are in favour of it, 12 against it, with 1 abstention.