Debate in the Council of States – Council of States basically says yes to “marriage for all” – News


  • The Council of States basically says yes to opening up marriage to same-sex couples.
  • He decided with 22 to 20 votes with 2 abstentions not to reject the proposal to the commission and to regulate the “marriage for all” at the legal level.
  • The law is now going back to the National Council to adjust the differences

It was not certain from the start that the Council of States would discuss the proposal today. Because a minority, especially members of the SVP and CVP, would have initially wanted to change the concept of marriage in the constitution. The council discussed the issue at length. Opponents and supporters mainly used legal arguments.

Representatives of the SVP and CVP found that the constitutional provision meant marriage between men and women and must therefore be adapted. Marriage is not readily applicable to same-sex couples. “The fact that the legislature and not a court interprets the constitution scratches the separation of powers,” said Stefan Engler (CVP / GR) for the legal commission.

Important questions in the constitution

Heidi Z’graggen (CVP / UR) also believed that important issues were regulated in Switzerland’s constitution. This also applies to marriage for everyone. “My subjective desire for quick opening therefore has to take a back seat.” Beat Rieder (CVP / VS) pointed out that a change in the law would weaken the legitimacy of the bill.

The article 14 in question in the Federal Constitution reads: “The right to marriage and family is guaranteed.” – “What new do you want to write in the constitution?” Lisa Mazzone (Greens / GE) turned to the minority. The concept of marriage has changed over the course of time, and at the legislative level there have always been changes, including far-reaching ones, according to several council members.
In terms of equality, everyone is entitled to marriage law, Matthias Michel (FDP / ZG) also found. His marriageable children interpreted the constitution in this way. In the end, the rejection request only narrowly failed with 22 to 20 votes, with two abstentions.

Differences in sperm donation

However, the template has not yet been adjusted. The Council of States agrees that lesbian couples should have access to sperm donation. A motion from Benedikt Würth (CVP / SG) to postpone this question until later and to make legal clarifications on it, he rejected with 20 to 15 votes.

The Council of States chose a more differentiated formulation than the National Council for sperm donation for female couples. He wants to include the requirements in the Reproductive Medicine Act, but also take into account the child’s right to know his parentage.

According to the Council of States, the fact that the wife is registered as the mother of the child should only be the case for sperm donation. The wife of the mother of the child – should also not be able to dispute the motherhood after a sperm donation to her partner.

Marriage not possible today

Today same-sex couples can marry in many European countries, but not in Switzerland. Same-sex couples in this country only have the option of registering their partnership. The civil status “in registered partnership” only exists for same-sex couples. However, the registered partnership is not associated with the same rights and obligations as marriage.
The business is now going back to the National Council.

“Marriage for all”: that’s what it’s about

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  • It’s all about this: Today only men and women are allowed to marry, homosexual couples are only allowed to register their partnership. The registered partnership differs from marriage in important respects. For example, registered couples cannot adopt children and foreign partners do not have the right to simplified naturalization. Now marriage is to be opened to everyone so that homosexual couples can also marry.
  • These are the tough nuts: The main question in the Council of States will be whether a constitutional amendment is necessary for the opening of marriage. The legal commission of the Council of States decided with seven to six votes that a change in the law was enough. It will be just as tight in the Council. It is also under discussion whether lesbian couples should also have access to sperm donation. The National Council approved this in the summer. The Legal Commission of the Council of States basically follows this line, but wants to exclude private sperm donation.
  • Who is for / against and why: SP, Greens, GLP and FDP are closed for marriage for all because they want to end the discrimination against homosexual couples. The middle faction is split. The SVP parliamentary group is against the opening of marriages because they think that the registered partnership is also enough.
  • How does it go on?: On Tuesday the Council of States will decide whether to open marriage to everyone after 7 years of parliamentary discussions. If the proposal of the Legal Commission with the clarifications on reproductive medicine comes through, the National Council would have to confirm this version again.

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