The Swiss parliament has voted to allow gay couples to adopt each other's children. However, the motion passed in the House of Representatives on Thursday was not as liberal as the original version approved by the Senate.
The Senate had approved a motion granting adoption rights regardless of marital status or sexual orientation, as long as the arrangement was the best option for the child in question. However, the House of Representatives altered the motion – specifying that a homosexual could only adopt the child of his or her partner.
In Switzerland, gay couples in a registered partnership are not allowed to adopt children. However, Swiss law permits a single gay man or lesbian woman to do so. This peculiar situation – which essentially punishes couples who have made a formal legal commitment to each other – is what sparked gay rights’ groups to ask legislators to amend the law.
Thursday’s developments were welcome news to homosexuals interested in adopting their step-children and gaining proper parental rights. However, gay rights groups will continue to push for full adoption rights.
In Switzerland it is estimated that there are several thousand children growing up in homes headed by same-sex couples.