Same-sex couples are getting married in Switzerland after the country officially legalized same-sex marriage on Friday July 1.
It comes after voters overwhelmingly voted to legalize same-sex marriage in a referendum in September last year.
Previously, same-sex couples were 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.
“It’s really important for us to have this visibility, to show that marriage is open to everyone, now and for future generations too,” one of the brides, Laure, told reporters afterwards.
”It’s been a long way, more than 20 years in the making, and so it’s good to stand here as a couple, say, ‘I do,’ and be married,” 57-year-old groom Alois Carnier told Reuters.
In December 2020, Swiss lawmakers voted to legalize same-sex marriage and simplify the procedures for transgender people to change their legal gender.
However, conservative politicians gathered the 50,000 signatures required to put the subject to a referendum.
Official results from the referendum 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.
Following the referendum, the government promised to implement the decision by July 1.
Hundreds of same-sex couples are now expected transform their “registered partnerships” into marriages in the next few weeks.
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.
The law makes it one of the last countries in Western Europe to legalize gay marriage.