Around 4,000 gays, lesbians and their families have danced and marched their way through Zurich as part of the annual Christopher Street Day Parade.This content was published on June 29, 2002 - 18:54
Under the banner "We are family", the aim of the march was to raise the profile of gay rights ahead of an upcoming cantonal vote on the financial rights of the homosexual community.
In September, voters in canton Zurich will go to the ballot box to decide whether homosexual partners should enjoy similar financial and fiscal benefits as heterosexual couples.
"September's vote will give the long fight for equal rights for homosexuals a real boost," Zurich's mayor, Elmar Ledergerber, told reporters as he joined the colourful parade.
Under the proposed law, dubbed PACS, homosexual couples would be exempt from paying heritage tax if one of the pair dies and they would be allowed to pay taxes jointly rather than separately.
But they would be legally obliged to support one another, should one of them suffer financial difficulties.
The autumn vote will mark the first time any community anywhere in the world has decided on the rights of homosexuals at the ballot box.
However, the Christopher Street Day Parade was not only aimed at raising the profile of September's vote. It was celebration of gay life.
The parade started on Helevtiaplatz in downtown Zurich where people in colourful and often outlandish costumes piled into "lovemobiles" and drove or walked alongside through the city streets.
The Christopher Street Day Parade commemorates the 1969 riots between police and gays in New York City and has become a worldwide platform to raise the profile of gay rights.
The Zurich parade follows last Saturday's Christopher Street Day celebrations in Berlin and coincides with the gay pride march in the French capital, Paris.
swissinfo with agencies
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