Voters in Switzerland have overwhelmingly voted to legalize same-sex marriage in a referendum on Sunday Sep. 26.
Official results showed that 64.1% of voters were in favor of same-sex marriage with a majority in all of the country’s 26 cantons, or states.
Currently, same-sex couples are only allowed to enter into “registered partnerships”, which do not provide them with the same rights as those obtained through marriage.
Under the new law, same-sex partners will be able to adopt children and obtain citizenship, and lesbian couples will also be able to conceive using sperm donation.
Switzerland’s justice minister tweeted that the government will implement the decision quickly, with the new rules expected to take effect on July 1.
“It is a historic day for Switzerland, a historic day when it comes to equality for same-sex couples, and it is also an important day for the whole LGBT community,” Jan Muller, of the “yes” campaign committee, told AFP.
Lawmakers had voted to legalize same-sex marriage and simplify the procedures for transgender people to change their legal gender in December last year.
However, conservative politicians gathered the 50,000 signatures required to put the subject to a referendum.
Switzerland, which has a population of 8.5 million, is traditionally more conservative and only extended the right to vote to all women in the country in 1990.
But a survey by Pink Cross, a gay advocacy group, in February 2020 showed that more than 80% of the Swiss population support same-sex marriage.
And tens of thousands of people gathered in Zurich on Saturday Sep. 4 to rally in support of same-sex marriage ahead of the referendum.
The law makes it one of the last countries in Western Europe to legalize gay marriage.