Swiss Back Legal Rights for Same-Sex Couples

Move Rejected by 6 Catholic-Majority Cantons

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GENEVA, JUNE 6, 2005 ( Swiss voters approved new rules giving homosexual couples many of the same social and taxation rights as married heterosexuals, but not the ability to adopt children.

The referendum won 58% of the votes in Sunday’s balloting.

The popular consultation approved the creation of the Civil Pact of Solidarity (PAC), which will enable registered same-sex couples to enjoy advantages proper to married couples in the area of taxation, inheritance rights, social security and pensions.

The Catholic bishops issued a statement during the campaign calling for opposition to the proposal, as they consider it incorrect to equate marriage with other types of unions.

«The bishops had no illusions about the result of the referendum on the PAC,» Bishop Pier Giacomo Grampa of Lugano told Vatican Radio today. «Account must be taken of the proportion between Catholics and Protestants in the country, and the indication given by the Federation of Reformation Churches in favor of the ‘yes'» vote.


«Among the seven cantons that rejected the law, only one is of Protestant majority; the other six are of clear Catholic majority,» Bishop Grampa observed.

The Italian-speaking Diocese of Lugano, for example, «voted according to the indications of the bishops and this pleases me greatly,» he added.

After Belgium, Spain and the Netherlands, now Switzerland has taken measures to introduce so-called homosexual marriage.

«In addition to the concept of the family, Europe’s ethical approach is adrift,» Bishop Grampa said. «We are adrift on all these problems — from abortion to embryonic stem cells, to euthanasia to the regulation of homosexual couples — because there is a lack of fundamental ethical formation» in the continent.

«Therefore, we must be concerned with forming the conscience of Europeans before coming to this sort of voting,» he added. «Otherwise, there will be a gradual disintegration of the legacy of values that have characterized life for almost 2,000 years.»

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