Swiss people approve anti-homophobia law by referendum 62%

A poster in favor of the anti-homophobia law in Geneva. REUTERS / Denis Balibouse

Text by: RFI Follow

More than 62%, the Swiss said yes, this Sunday, February 9, to the new criminal anti-homophobia standard. It puts discrimination on the same level based on ethnicity, religion or sexual orientation. A small revolution in a country so far lagging behind on the protection of LGBT rights.


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With our correspondent in Geneva , Jeremie Lanche.

Homophobia is no longer a city in Switzerland . In a referendum, 62% of citizens voted "yes" to the new law prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation. This reform provides for the extension of an already existing text for discrimination and calls to racial or religious hatred, by extending it to sexual orientation.

" Ending homophobia, we must not dream "

" The importance of a law is to put a limit on those who cannot manage to put it themselves, " said Didier Bonny, the co-president of the Fédération romande des associations LGBT . Homophobic insults, he heard. However, he remains aware that the new law will not make them disappear. Put an end to homophobia, you must not dream. But we will still be able to put a barrier to those who do not always think very well about what they say and who think of making gags which, in fact, are extremely hurtful and insulting, "he explains.

A clear YES against hatred and discrimination. 🏳️🌈

A strong signal for more # tolerance and in favor of #marriage for all.

The struggle continues, especially for #trans people who also need protection! #CHVote #LGBTQrights # 9fevhttps: //

PS Switzerland (@PSSuisse) February 9, 2020

However, even if the law does not completely eradicate homophobia in Switzerland, by making homophobic insults liable to criminal sanctions, the text could help change the lives of many homosexuals. " Especially for young people, when you hear insults and they can turn against you and it is not for nothing that the suicide rate among young people is two to five times higher than among heterosexuals " , explains Didier Bonny.

Punish messages on social networks

The law also concerns comments made on social networks. A hate message posted online may be subject to a fine. The right-wing populist party UDC did not like the vote, which sees the text as an attack on freedom of expression. Opposite, we hammer it: homophobia is not an opinion.

This new law should in any case allow Switzerland to rise in the European ranking for LGBT rights. It is currently only 28th out of 49 countries studied.

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