Late last month, Switzerland's National
Council approved a measure that seeks to criminalize homophobia and
According to Le
Temps, the proposed legislation cleared the National Council,
the lower chamber of the Swiss Parliament, with a 118 to 60 vote. A
vote in the Council of States is expected in December.
Currently, Switzerland criminalizes
incitement toward hatred or discrimination against a person or group
of persons based on their “racial, ethnic or religious”
affiliation. Violators face up to 3 years in prison.
Introduced by National Councilor
Mathias Reynard, the proposal would add sexual orientation and gender
identity to the list.
“National Council accepts my
parliamentary initiative against homophobia and transphobia!”
Reynard said in a tweet. “A magnificent success for human rights!
Final response in December to the Council of States.”
Speaking with Shortlist.com, Reynard
called the outcome “great news.”
“The Swiss Parliament's decision is
great news because it sends the powerful message that homophobia is
not an opinion; as for racism, it's a violation of the law,” he
“I tabled the motion after speaking
to friends of mine who have personally been victims of verbal and
physical homophobic violence.”
“And working on this law I found out
that the Swiss case-law doesn't punish either hate speech or
incitement to hatred towards LGBT+ people. During the last few
years, this loophole in the law has been pointed out several times at
an international level,” he added.
Reynard said that he will now work on
legislation to allow gay and lesbian couples to marry in Switzerland,
which has had same-sex civil partnerships since 2007.
“Gay marriage is now being discussed
in the Swiss Parliament and I will commit to this subject so it can
become a reality in the next few years,” Reynard said.