Switzerland announces date first same-sex couples will be able to marry after landmark referendum

Two female cake-toppers on wedding cake

Switzerland has announced that same-sex couples can get married beginning on 1 July next year after LGBT+ marriage was approved in a referendum

The Swiss government announced the first dates for same-sex marriage on Wednesday (17 November), almost two months after 64.1 per cent of voters backed equality in a referendum. 

The country has allowed civil partnerships for same-sex couples since 2007. Legislation to allow same-sex marriage was first introduced in 2013, but was followed by eight years of drawn-out campaigning and debate.

It will also mean that same-sex couples can adopt children together, something which previously was barred as adoption is restricted to married couples in Switzerland, as well as IVF access.

The Government also announced that starting on 1 January, 2022, Switzerland will recognise the marriages of same-sex couples who marry abroad instead of treating the unions as civil partnerships. 

The legislation, however, means that taking part in a civil partnership will no longer be possible in Switzerland as of 1 July – though couples already in civil partnerships will be allowed to maintain them. 

Zurich Pride 2021 (FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP via Getty Images)

Switzerland is the 17th country in Europe to legalise marriage equality as of September 2021, with Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, and the UK all legally performing same-sex marriage ceremonies. 

It’s one of the last western European countries to introduce marriage equality, and only introduced its first law banning anti-LGBT+ discrimination as recently as February 2020.

Hannes Rudolph of HAZ – Queer Zurich, Swizerland’s oldest surviving LGBT+ group, told PinkNews after the September referendum: “We cannot take progress for granted.

“We must stay visible, loud and clear about injustice.

“Trans and intersex people need to be protected against discrimination, conversion therapies, and non-consensual surgeries must be forbidden.

“Another focus has to be minorities within the queer community… Queers of colour, queer disabled people, queer migrants and others should find welcoming structures and a community that doesn’t exclude them.

“We want to make Switzerland a safer place for marginalised people.”