On 18 December 2020, The Council of States, Switzerland’s upper house, voted in favour of allowing gay marriage in Switzerland. 27 members voted for the plan, 15 against and 7 abstained.
The result follows a successful parliamentary vote on the subject and is the culmination of a 7-year campaign to achieve full marriage rights for all.
The decision makes Switzerland the 29th nation in the world to open marriage to same sex couples.
One of the key sticking points was whether a constitutional change was required to make it happen or whether a change of law would be enough.
Article 14 of Switzerland’s constitution states that “The right to marry and to have a family is guaranteed.” Those in favour of a legal change argued there was no need to change this because it already accommodates marriages of any kind.
A majority of The Council of States agreed that a legal change involving an amendment to the civil code would be sufficient – 22 for, 20 against and 2 abstentions.
The rules around lesbien couples’ access to sperm are yet to be agreed.
In addition, a referendum on the subject and one has already been announced. Olga Baranova, one of those behind the project to achieve full marriage rights views the referendum as a conservative attempt to overturn their work. In an interview with RTS she said her team were ready to win the referendum.