Switzerland Legalized Same-Sex Marriage, Should More Countries do the Same?

People+in+Zurich%2C+Switzerland+advocate+for+LGBTQIA+rights+in+a+Pride+parade.

Micheal Buholzer

People in Zurich, Switzerland advocate for LGBTQIA rights in a Pride parade.

Kailyn Holty, Staff Writer

As pride flags rained down halfway across the world in Switzerland after the new same-sex marriage legalization, questions linger on the world’s acceptance of the LGBTQ+ community with 30 countries having legalized same-sex marriage. 

Switzerland’s new referendum for confirming the legalization of same-sex marriage passed with 64.1% of the vote and over half of all voters in each of Switzerland’s 26 cantons (states) on September 26, 2021. This new measure will allow same-sex partners to adopt children and facilitate citizenship for same-sex spouses. Lesbian couples now also get the opportunity to utilize sperm donations. For many, this new measure is exciting for the LGBTQ+ community.

“I am very pleased to hear that they have legalized same-sex marriage. Switzerland is always a neutral country, so I’m glad to see that they’ve made progress towards being independent thinkers and having equality for people of all gender identities,” Woodside freshman Chloe de Leon said.

What’s equally exciting, students noted, is the fact that Switzerland is showing whether big or small, every country has the chance to step towards equality.

“[It’s] awesome [that Switzerland legalized same-sex marriage]. I think it’s cool to see how really small countries can take such large steps that some of the biggest nations in the world can,” Woodside sophomore Malin Petersson said.

While exhilarating for many to see Switzerland take these new measures, others are beginning to question the number of countries that have legalized same-sex marriage and what that says about our world.

“I mean when I heard [that 30 countries have legalized same-sex marriage], it baffled me a little because gay people are everywhere. But I’m not surprised because the world, in my opinion, is a Christian world, where man and woman are supposed to be together. So, I’m not surprised, disappointed, but not surprised,” Petersson said.

Contrastly, in many places throughout Asia, it is uncommon to see acceptance towards the LGBTQ+ community. In fact, the only country in Asia to have legalized same-sex marriage is Taiwan. Students find it disheartening to see that most of Asia does not allow same-sex marriage.

“I have a lot of friends whose families are from Asia and they have family members who are LGBTQ+. It’s just very sad to think that if they want to go back to their home country, they can’t get married to whoever they love there,” de Leon said. 

For Malin Petersson, however, who grew up in Sweden, there was a very different atmosphere towards the LGBTQ+ community. According to Petersson, Sweden provided a more accepting and welcoming environment towards various gender and sexual identities. 

“For me personally, my parents raised me in a way that they never assumed that I was just into guys. So, they didn’t push me in that specific traditional direction and I feel that’s the case for a lot of my friends back in Sweden. But I know way more people in Sweden who have come out to me as compared to here because a lot of people here either don’t come out or they don’t want to label it,” Petersson said. 

Even though many countries are still working on accepting same-sex marriage, here at Woodside, students find that the atmosphere is welcoming towards the LGBTQ+ community.

“[Woodside is] really accepting. We have the Alphabet Soup club. So go there if you want to be included as everyone’s super open,” Woodside sophomore Annabelle Bechtel said. 

While Woodside has established environments that aim to provide a more inclusive place for people of various gender and sexual identities, students find that it is actually the people at Woodside who struggle to make the school a more welcoming place. 

“I think Woodside as a school makes sure that their students know that they’re all welcome no matter what their sexual orientation is,” Petersson said. “However, I think the actual students aren’t as welcoming. There’s a lot of homophobia going on and lesbian fetishes as well. That’s like general immaturity among teenagers,” 

For others, Woodside students have proven to be more accepting of the LGBTQ+ community.

“I haven’t really met anyone who’s anti-LGBTQ+, which is good because there are definitely some places where people are homophobic. But I think we’re really fortunate to be in an area where most people are accepting,” de Leon said.

However, when Woodside students assess how accepting the U.S. has been in regards to LGBTQ+ people, many find that the U.S. doesn’t share the same geniality as Woodside. Some places in the U.S. don’t show the same friendliness towards different gender and sexual identities. 

“I think that as a whole the U.S. is not very accepting of same-sex marriage. I know that places like the Bay Area, where we live, Los Angeles, New York, Oregon, and Washington… are definitely more liberal [and accepting of the LGBTQ+ community],” de Leon said. “But then if you look at states like Alabama or Georgia, I think there’s definitely a lot more homophobia there. I think the people there are more against same-sex marriage, and it can definitely be more taboo there, causing a lot of problems [for the LGBTQ+ community there].”

For many, the U.S. doesn’t show an acceptance of same-sex marriage, even though it has been legalized in all 50 states and many liberal places are welcoming to the community.

“I think the U.S, personally, is very backwards when it comes to same-sex marriage. I think that sexuality is fluid and limiting to the traditional different-sex marriages is very unrealistic and controlling. I don’t think they’ve done a good job whatsoever [in welcoming various sexualities] despite presenting their support in the media,” Petersson said. 

For now, students are hopeful for the prospect of change that our generation, who is more exposed to various gender and sexual identities, can have on welcoming same-sex marriage around the world.

“Our generation has spent more time in a more accepting reality of sexualities so we’re going to be more prone to want to change these laws. We want to get married,” Petersson said.