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Switzerland Expected to Hold Marriage Equality Referendum

A referendum on the extension of marriage rights to same-sex couples in Switzerland is likely to take place later this year.

Lawmakers in the European country last December approved the "Marriage for All" bill.

Mannschaft, a Swiss LGBTQ magazine, on Wednesday reported opponents of the law have collected more than the 50,000 signatures required to prompt a referendum on the measure.

Marriage equality opponents had until Saturday to collect the necessary signatures for a referendum. Mannschaft reports the vote is expected to take place in September or November once the Swiss Federal Chancellery certifies the signatures.

Maria von K√§nel, vice president of the Swiss Rainbow Families Association, told the Washington Blade after lawmakers gave their final approval to the "Marriage for All" bill that she expected a referendum on it, even though polls indicate a majority of Swiss voters support marriage rights for same-sex couples. Jean-Paul Gschwind, a member of the Swiss National Council who opposes nuptials for gays and lesbians, told Swiss media it is "important that the people have the opportunity to express their opinion on such a social decision."

Swiss voters in February 2020 overwhelmingly approved a bill that bans discrimination based on sexual orientation. Neighboring France, Germany and Austria are among the European countries that have extended marriage rights to same-sex couples.

This article originally appeared in the Washington Blade and is made available in partnership with the National LGBT Media Association.

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