Switzerland’s largest gay pride parade took place in Zurich on Saturday. Organisers and participants used the occasion to campaign for equal rights for gay couples, especially when it comes to the question of marriage and adoption.
The two-hour festive march began at 14:00 in central Zurich and organisers estimate that around 9,000 people took part and 3,000 cheered from the sidelines.
The organisers sought to highlight the inability of Swiss gay couples to legally marry each other or adopt other people’s children unlike heterosexual married couples. An unmarried gay person can theoretically adopt a child provided they are 35 years or older.
In 2005, the Swiss people voted to allow same-sex civil unions which came into force in 2007. The civil partnership resembles marriage in all but name with gay couples granted the same pension, inheritance and tax rights and obligations. However, adoption of children by gay couples in a civil partnership remains forbidden.
Last month, both houses of the Swiss parliament approved a change in adoption law that would allow all unmarried couples (including gay couples) to adopt the child or children of their partners. However, a final decision on the issue is expected on June 17 and conservative parties have warned to launch a referendum against the change in law if it passes. If they succeed in collecting 50,000 signatures in three months the referendum could take place as early as this year.
“In this motion, the voters will decide whether a parent may adopt their partner’s biological children. Once again the question will be raised whether the love of homosexual couples – in this case parental love – is equal to the love of heterosexual couples,” said a statementexternal link on the Zurich Pride website.
swissinfo.ch and agencies