Green light for gays to adopt stepchildren

Argued for the well-being of the children: Justice Minister Simonetta Sommaruga Keystone

Homosexuals should be allowed to adopt the children of a partner, agree most Swiss parliamentarians. Non-married, cohabiting couples should also have the right to adopt stepchildren.

This content was published on May 30, 2016 - 20:49
swissinfo.ch and agencies

These changes to Swiss adoption law were passed in the House of Representatives on Monday. The legislation had already been approved by the Senate.

Current law restricts the adoption of stepchildren to married couples. The changes will make it possible for all couples, regardless of marital status or sexual orientation.

Extending stepchild adoption rights to gay and lesbian parents passed easily in the House – with 127 to 60 votes, and two abstentions.

Opposition came mainly from the Swiss People's Party and the Christian Democrats.

Unmarried couples

Extending adoption rights to couples living outside of marriage or a registered partnership passed more narrowly, 95 to 92, with two abstentions. Those against argued that if the children are to be bound to a parent, then the parents should be bound to each other.

Those in favour noted that the revision of the law reflects the fact that more and more children are being raised by unmarried couples.

The change will not permit same-sex couples to adopt other people’s children. However, current law allows individuals to take in children given up for adoption.

Justice Minister Simonetta Sommaruga said that liberal family law should reflect how people live – otherwise, the weakest will suffer, namely, the children.

“If you don’t like the fact that adults are living together without a marriage certificate, don’t punish the children for it,” Sommaruga said.

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