Written by Tauseef Mustafa, CNN
The Swiss referendum to legalize same-sex marriage passed Wednesday with nearly two-thirds of the vote, according to exit polls
The referendum won by one of the largest margins in history, with 62% of voters backing the proposal.
“Now the gold rush begins!” Swiss Vice President Alain Berset, a member of the governing Switzerland People’s Party, told the NZZ am Sonntag newspaper. “It’s obviously a total victory for same-sex couples.”
How have opinions shifted?
The polling success for “yes” has significant implications for how much further people’s views on same-sex marriage will shift.
“Voters still feel inclined to vote against gay marriage,” wrote HuffPost’s Emily Anne Epstein. “However, this referendum is a clear indication that there are still a significant number of voters who remain opposed — by seven percentage points on average. They are clearly in the minority and won’t ever be enough to defeat legislation on this issue.”
More countries have followed suit
Switzerland is not the first country in the world to legalize same-sex marriage; seven other nations currently recognize such unions: The United States, Argentina, Canada, Denmark, France, Uruguay and Spain.
A similar referendum was recently held in Ireland, which came out on top to legalize same-sex marriage in a big landslide this May by a vote of 66.1% to 33.9%. With the result, Ireland became the first country in the world to legalize same-sex marriage through popular vote.
In a live Twitter Q&A last week, CNN’s Michael van Poppel asked ‘Swiss gays and lesbians,’ “Should they be able to choose who they’re with?”
According to a recent poll, nearly 70% of Swiss say that gay and lesbian couples should be able to marry. That represents a major change from just a few years ago, as the majority of Swiss respondents did not support the legalization of same-sex marriage in the same-sex marriage survey that was conducted in 2012.
And it’s not just the proposed legislation that’s being won over by newlyweds.
Photojournalist Florian Zeller, who has covered same-sex marriage, told CNN that a growing number of Swiss people are taking a liking to the commitment and love of same-sex couples.
“We get a lot of emails from women who mention how they don’t have to worry anymore about having their spouse divorced and find out whether or not he loves them more, and that it’s all taken care of, which is really a beautiful idea.”