Swiss Legislation on Homosexual Unions Is Assailed

Bishops Say “Couples” Can´t Be Equated with Marriage

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ZURICH, Switzerland, FEB. 28, 2002 ( Switzerland´s Catholic bishops have expressed clear opposition to a draft law that aims to treat homosexual couples like spouses.

“Although homosexual persons living together can register before a public official, it cannot have the same legal effects as those of marriage between heterosexuals,” the Swiss episcopal conference stated in a note published Tuesday.

The document had been sent earlier in the form of a letter to Ruth Metzler, adviser of the confederation, by Bishop Amédée Grab, president of the Swiss episcopate.

The text thanks the authorities for “the invitation to express themselves on the subject,” and analyzes the spirit of the draft law that “eliminates discriminations, namely, the unjustified different treatment of homosexual couples.”

However, Bishop Grab says that it is not possible “to dilute the cultural and legal privilege of the institution of marriage, recognized and protected by Swiss law.”

Such a privilege is “inherent to the institution of marriage itself, and consolidated by tradition,” he continued.

Yet, the episcopal note regards as “positive” the fact that the draft law does not absolutely provide for the possibility of “marriage for couples of the same sex,” and then asks questions about its objectives.

The Swiss episcopate ends by requesting that families founded on matrimony not be marginalized. It says such families now suffer “pointless and unjust discriminations.”

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