Rainbow development in Switzerland, with voters strongly backing a new law against homophobia in a referendum.
Switzerland actually does not yet have laws that specifically protect LGBTQIA people from discrimination, so that the vote – according to Mathias Reynard, a politician from the Social Democratic Party of Switzerland which initiated the reform, in an interview with Swiss channel RTS 1 – is “historical”.
Over 60% voted in favor of widening existing laws against discrimination of incitement to hatred on ethnic or religious grounds to include sexual orientation. The highest approval rate was in Geneva with 76.3%; with the rural cantons of Appenzell Innerrhoden, Schwyz and Uri voting against.
The change was passed by the Swiss parliament in 2018 but critics obtained the 50,000 signatures necessary under Switzerland’s system of direct democracy to put the matter to a vote.
All of Switzerland’s major parties except the populist right-wing Swiss People’s Party (SVP), the biggest political force in parliament, support the law.
Under the new law, publicly denigrating or discriminating against someone for being gay or inciting hatred against that person in text, speech, images or gestures would be banned. Homophobic comments made in a family setting or among friends would not be criminalized.