Switzerland voted by a wide margin in a referendum on Sunday to allow same-sex couples to marry, putting the Alpine nation in line with many others in Western Europe.
Official results showed that the measure passed in favor of 64.1% of voters and secured a majority in all 26 cantons, or states, of Switzerland.
The Parliament of Switzerland and the Governing Federal Council supported the “marriage for all” measure. Switzerland has authorized gay civil partnerships since 2007.
Supporters said the route would put same-sex partners on the same legal level with heterosexual couples, allowing them to adopt children together and facilitating citizenship for same-sex spouses. It would also allow gay couples to access regulated sperm donation.
Opponents believe that replacing civil partnerships with full marriage rights would undermine families based on a union between one man and one woman.
Voter Anna Leimgruber said Sunday at a polling station in Geneva that she cast her vote for the “no” camp because she believed “children will need a father and a mother.”
But Nicolas Dzierlatka, who voted “yes”, said that children need love.
“I think what is important for children is that they are loved and respected – and I think there are children who are not respected or loved in so-called ‘hetero’ couples,” he said.
The campaign is replete with accusations of unfair tactics, opposition parties condemning the tearing down of posters, a flood of LGBT hotline complaints, hostile emails, insults against campaigners and attempts to silence opposing views.
Switzerland, which has a population of 8.5 million, is traditionally conservative and only extended the right to vote to all its women in 1990.
Most countries in Western Europe already recognize same-sex marriage, while most countries in Central and Eastern Europe do not allow marriages involving two men or two women.
Proponents say it may still take months for same-sex couples to marry, mainly because of administrative and legislative processes.
Also on Sunday, voters rejected a proposal led by left-wing groups in Switzerland to raise taxes on income from investments and capital such as dividends or rental properties as a way to ensure better redistribution and fair taxation.
The results showed that in a country known for its vibrant financial sector and relatively low taxes, and as a haven for many of the world’s richest people, 64.9% voted against it. None of the cantons voted in favor.