It wasn’t actually all that surprising that Switzerland had voted to allow same-sex marriage – since last year, the Supreme Court told the cantons that they had to approve the measure, or else.
The country’s custom has generally been to recognise marriage between a man and a woman – the 1974 Marriage Act stated clearly that such marriages would be considered valid and also that children born to same-sex couples would automatically be recognised by the Swiss state as being of that sex.
Many public officials had opposed the vote as a serious departure from traditional norms, but it’s likely that more about putting in new laws is behind the large majority that have voted in favour.
Up to two-thirds of Swiss voters have answered the constitutional proposal by saying yes, making the vote the first of its kind in the world – and the only one this year.
A few other countries, such as France, Japan and the United States, allow civil partnerships for same-sex couples. Some, such as Colombia, give gay couples civil marriage, while Argentina and Canada currently have laws that allow gay marriages and civil unions. But not every nation legalises it.
South Africa allows civil unions for same-sex couples; some South African nations have allowed same-sex marriage and civil unions.
China, in the early days of its reform and opening up, allowed some gay marriage, but in 2010 removed the legislation.