ANALYSIS: In its strongest move yet on gay marriage, voters are set to back allowing same-sex couples to wed in Switzerland.
Although Switzerland has long had what is called “civil unions” for same-sex couples – in which most family laws can be set aside and couples receive joint taxation – being able to marry will allow the couple to receive automatic medical coverage, inherit each other’s belongings and file joint tax returns.
If the measure is approved, it will be the first country to legalize same-sex marriage.
Allowing same-sex couples to marry will bring more recognition to the relationships, but some Christian groups say that just isn’t fair.
Christian groups estimate that more than 1,000 couples have been married in Switzerland since 1950, but say that some who say their unions were real but that others weren’t is bad for families.
“If you get married, you get rights. Is it very fair that those who’ve already been married could use their right?” said Marcus Biedermann, from the Swiss Christian Democrats.
The polls say 59 percent of Swiss are opposed to the measure. For opponents, many are worried what it could mean for Swiss families.
“If you have lots of people who live with two women, who benefit economically because of the fact they can share expenses, they become an integrated part of the family,” said Hans Paul Ungefuhrer, a representative of the Green Party.
But supporters of gay marriage say it allows them to have a real relationship and love each other.
“Many people don’t want to think like that, in that situation of discrimination. They don’t want to think that marriage means that there are consequences to it,” said Irina, from the Swiss Society for the Aids Prevention.
Supporters of the measure, including Finance Minister Ueli Maurer, say it would offer legal security to more than 24,000 same-sex couples, including more than one in 10 widowers and one in 10 widowers.
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