The Swiss president, Moritz Leuenberger, has addressed thousands of gays and lesbians in Zurich during this year's Christopher Street Day Gay Pride demonstration.This content was published on June 23, 2001 - 21:14
The protestors were calling for equality for homosexuals in the workplace and the right to gay marriage.
During his speech Leuenberger promised that the government would raise the issue of gay marriage this year by carrying out a pilot study.
He also asked for patience from the homosexual community as the government endeavoured to change the way they are seen in the eyes of the law.
He pointed out that the authorities wanted to recognise all of Switzerland's cultural and political differences in whatever form they take.
The demonstrators thanked Leuenberger for his speech with a big bouquet of flowers and a card with the words "Moritz, we love you."
The Christopher Street Day Gay Pride association said they were thrilled that Leuenberger had addressed the demonstrators as it marked the first time a head of State had taken part in such a rally anywhere in the world.
The demonstration was a peaceful one with protestors marching through the streets of Zurich to the sound of techno music, creating a carnival-like atmosphere everywhere they went in the blazing sunshine.
The demonstration commemorates the 1969 riots in New York on Christopher Street when gay protestors clashed with the police.
swissinfo with agencies
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