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Swiss gay couples get partnership rights in referendum vote

[JURIST] Gay couples in Switzerland can register their partnerships after 58% of Swiss voters Sunday said "yes" in a referendum [JA campaign website in German, French and Italian], bringing to fruition a victory predicted by a Friday opinion poll [JURIST report]. The partnership law was up for popular approval at the same time as a proposal to become part of the EU passport union, which also passed [JURIST report]. Gay couples in Switzerland will now receive the same rights as married couples in the areas of taxes, pensions, and inheritance, but will not be able to actually marry, adopt children or use fertility treatments. The Swiss Parliament [official website] had expressed its acceptance of the law [Swiss Justice Ministry backgrounder in German], but the referendum was forced by a small religious party, the Federal Democratic Union [official website in German; NEIN campaign website in German], which collected enough signatures of those in opposition to force a referendum. Twelve other countries in Europe allow same-sex marriage or registration, although this is the first time a law of this type has been voted on at the national level in Europe. Swissinfo has local coverage.

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