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Swiss parliament okays marriage equality bill

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Swiss parliament has approved a bill that would allow same-sex couples to marry.

The National Council, the lower house of Parliament, voted by 136 in favor to 48 against, with 16 members abstaining or otherwise voting present.

Swiss parliament
Swiss Parliament

The Council of States, the upper house, voted 24 to 11 in favor of the bill, with 11 not voting or abstaining.

The bill was first introduced seven years ago and has gone through several rounds of debate and votes before this final approval.

Switzerland had previously allowed registered partnerships between same-sex couples, but that status did not provide the same rights that marriage provides.

The bill approved on Friday also provides that both members of a lesbian couple who have a child through sperm donation will be considered parents of that child.

The conservative Christian Federal Democratic Union party announced after the vote that it would seek to have the bill put to a popular referendum.

However, a recent survey shows 82% of Swiss people are in favor of extending marriage rights to same-sex couples, making a referendum unlikely to overturn the parliamentary vote.

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