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Equal rights

Surveys support gay marriage, not just partnerships

Gay couples should be allowed to marry in Switzerland, not just have civil partnerships, say a majority of people in surveys by two different research institutes.

Gay and lesbian couples were granted the right to partnerships in law in 2007, but they lack some rights that married heterosexual couples have, such as the ability to adopt as a couple, an eased application process for non-Swiss to become citizens, and access to fertility treatments.

The first survey, published in the SonntagsZeitung newspaper by the gfs-Zurich research institute on behalf of the gay rights group the Pink Cross, involved 1,000 people in German- and French-speaking Switzerland. It found that 71% of respondents – 77% of women and 64% of men – fully or somewhat supported gay marriage.

The second survey, published in the SonntagsBlick newspaper and conducted by the Léger research and polling firm, had a narrower margin, with 54% of people surveyed supporting gay marriage. In this survey 62% of women were in favour, compared with only 46% of men.

Gay marriage must still overcome several hurdles in order to become a reality. Following approval by parliament it would also need a majority among Swiss voters in a nationwide ballot.

The polls came as parliament next month continues debate on a proposal by the centrist Christian Democratic Party to introduce tax breaks for families.

In order to improve the chances for its initiative, the party – which traditionally has had the support of Catholic voters – decided last week against defining marriage as a partnership between a man and a woman. Seventy percent of the party’s base favour lesbian and gay marriages.

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