Laws

SWITZERLAND

Limited information only available for these topics

Access to Children
Adoption of Children
Age of Consent
Annuitites, Pensions
Anti-Vilification
Artifical Insemination
Assisted Reproduction
Asylum / Refugees
Bullying
  Civil Unions
Custody of Children
Discrimination
Estates, Wills
Fostering Children
Gender Identity
Harassment
Hate Crimes
Health, Medical
  HIV/Aids
Homosexuality
Immigration
Inheritance, Succession
Insurance
Intersex
In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF)
Marriage
Military
  Parenting
Partners
Pensions
Property
Sodomy
Taxation
Transgender, Transsexual
Violence
Wrongful Death

Please read the Disclaimer

Age of Consent Legislation/Cases/References
1.

National

Swiss Criminal Code. Title 5: Offences against sexual integrity

Article 187

1. Endangering the development of minors

Sexual acts with children

1. Any person who engages in a sexual act with a child under 16 years of age, or, incites a child to commit such an activity, or involves a child in a sexual act, is liable to a custodial sentence not exceeding five years or to a monetary penalty.

2. The act is not an offence if the difference in age between the persons involved is not more than three years.[R1.1].

R1.1 Title 5: Offences against sexual integrity Sexual acts with children Accessed 24 AUG 15
Assisted Reproduction Technology
Artificial Insemination, In Vitro Fertilisation, Surrogacy
Legislation/Cases/References
1.

National

Same-sex couples registered under Switzerland's civil unions law are not entitled to undergo invitro fertilisation procedures [R1.1].

2.

Courts & Tribunals

On 21 May 2015, the Federal Supreme Court was reported to have ruled that a child born to a surrogate mother in the United States can't have two fathers, finding that only the 4-year-old boy's biological father can be legally registered on his birth certificate [R2.1].

R1.1 MCV: Enduring Love Gains Recognition 11 JAN 07
See also: Rainbow Families: Reproductive Medicine and Surrogacy In relation to Switzerland PDF 415.74kb, 25 JAN 14
R2.1 SFGATEnews: Swiss supreme court rules boy can't have 2 fathers 21 MAY 15
Asylum, Immigration, Refugees Legislation/Cases/References
1.

National

A relatively new addition to the list of provisions enshrined in the 1951 UN Convention that entitles a person to apply for refugee status, "sexual orientation" owes its inclusion to a growing understanding in a handful of countries that lesbians and gays constitute a distinct social group. This article has been invoked to grant asylum to lesbians and gay men in Switzerland [R1.2].

In January 2007, it was reported that same-sex foreign partners of a Swiss citizen would not receive preferential treatment from Switzerland's immigration department under the country's civil unions law, which came into effect on 01 January 2007 [R1.1].

2.

Courts & Tribunals

In March 2008, Cameroonian teenager's appeal against the rejection of his asylum claim was also rejected [R2.1].

R1.2 Beirut Daily Star: For Some Young Lebanese Staying Means 'Life Will be Over' 12 OCT 01
R1.1 MCV: Enduring Love Gains Recognition 11 JAN 07
R2.1 PinkNews.co.uk: Swiss May Deport Gay Teen to Cameroon 17 MAR 08
Civil Unions, Partners: Domestic, Registered Legislation/Cases/References
See also: [INHERITANCE] [MARRIAGE] [PROPERTY]
1.

National

In June 2005, Swiss voters backed new rules giving homosexual couples many of the same social and taxation rights as married heterosexuals [L1.6], [R1.5].

The registered partnership law applies only to homosexuals and sets out mainly civil and administrative rights, including joint taxation, pensions and inheritance, plus the possibility of being considered next of kin for hospital visits.

It explicitly rules out adoption and any form of artificial insemination or medically-assisted procreation.

The country's civil union legislation, came into effect on 01 January 2007 [R1.4].

A partnership which has been duly formed abroad will be recognised in Switzerland if it complies with Swiss legal principles [L1.6].

Previously

In June 2004, the Swiss parliament voted in favour of allowing gay couples to register their partnerships. The Senate followed the House of Representatives by agreeing in principle to grant gays and lesbians similar entitlements to married couples. The proposed new law, which had then to go back to the House of Representatives to iron out minor differences, recognised the right of both partners to be next of kin [R1.3].

In December 2003, the House of Representatives approved legislation to grant gay couples the right to register their partnerships. But opponents have promised to put the issue to a nationwide vote if the Senate follows suit [R1.2].

In November 2002, under a law proposed by the governing cabinet, same-sex pairs would enjoy civil recognition like married couples nationwide [R1.1].

2.

Cantons

In September 2002, voters in the Zurich canton approved a referendum granting civil registration for gay and lesbian couples extending the same tax, inheritance and social security benefits as other married couples [R2.3].

Partners must live in Zurich canton and formally commit themselves six months in advance to running a joint home and to providing each other with mutual support and aid R2.2].


In May 2001, same-sex partners in the Geneva Canton could register their partnerships and be treated the same as opposite-sex partners in dealings with the state except in the areas of taxation, adoption and social-security benefits [R2.1].

3.

Cities & Towns

In December 2002, a proposed law granted civil recognition to same-sex couples in the Swiss capital, Bern [R3.1].

L1.6 Registered partnership PDF 31.81kb, 30 JUN 06
R1.5 The Australian OnLine: Public Vote Gives Swiss Gays More Rights 06 JUN 05
R1.4 MCV: Enduring Love Gains Recognition 11 JAN 07
R1.3 Swiss Info: Parliament Gives Its Blessing to Gay Couples 04 JUN 04
R1.2 Neue Zürcher Zeitung: Gay Couples Edge Closer to Equal Rights 02 DEC 03
R1.1 AP World Politics: Swiss Parliament Moves to Extend Gay Rights Nationwide 29 NOV 02
R2.3 Neue Zürcher Zeitung: Zurich Homosexuals Win Right to Tie the Knot 01 JUL 03
R2.2 Associated Press: Gays Get Marriage Rights in Zurich 22 SEP 02
R2.1 Sydney Xpress News: Swiss Tie the Knot 17 MAY 01
The Advocate: Geneva Approves Benefits for Same-Sex Couples 17-20 FEB 01
R3.1 BnewS: Civil Unions in Bern 19 DEC 02

GayLawNet®™ "Exclusive" Sponsorship of this page IS available
Discrimination Legislation/Cases/References
1.

National

On 12 March 2015, it was reported that the Swiss Parliament parliament voted 103-73 in favor (with 9 abstentions) to ensure nobody is targeted with hate speech and discrimination on the basis of their sexual or gender identity [R1.4].

In 2000, discrimination based on sexual orientation was made unlawful [R1.3].

In a April 1999 referendum, Swiss voters approved a new constitution which protects gays and lesbians from discrimination [R1.2].

In September 1998, the Staenderat (Switzerland's little chamber of the Parliament) voted for an anti-discrimination article in a new constitution [R1.1].

R1.4 GayStarNews: Switzerland votes for law to protect LGBTIs from prejudice 12 MAR 15
R1.3 ILGA: State Sponsored Homophobia PDF 5.99MB, 30 MAY 14
R1.2 Melbourne Star Observer: Swiss Constitution Protects Gays 23 APR 99
R1.1 aK magazine: Swiss Anti-Discrimination Article 05 SEP 98
Gender Identity, Intersex,
Transgender, Transexual

[?]
Legislation/Cases/References
1.

Courts & Tribunals

In January 2009, the European Court of Human Rights ruled a 72-year old transsexual be reimbursed after her country's health insurance refused to pay the cost of her gender reassignment treatment [R1.1].

R1.1 MCV: Swiss Ordered to Reimburse Transsexual 29 JAN 09
Hate Crimes Legislation/Cases/References
   
   
HIV Aids Legislation/Cases/References
1.

National

In May 2003, it was reported that Swiss doctors had carried out HIV/Aids tests without the knowledge of the patients [R1.1].

R1.1 Melbourne Star: Secret Tests 29 MAY 03
Homosexuality, Sodomy Legislation/Cases/References
See also: [AGE OF CONSENT]
1.

National

On 01 January 1942, consensual sex between same-sex couples was decriminalised [R1.1] under the new national penal code created on 21 December 1937.

R1.1 ILGA: State Sponsored Homophobia PDF 382.87kb, 14 MAY 08
Marriage Legislation/Cases/References
1.

National

The law in Switzerland does not permit same-sex marriages however in June 2005, a registered partnership law was approved in a referendum [R1.4] and came into effect on 01 January 2007.


On 16 June 2017, it was reported that the Parliament had given a parliamentary legal affairs committee until summer 2019 to draw up a bill on implementing the ''Marriage for everyone'' parliamentary initiative, which calls for gay couples to be allowed to marry. The decision to delay was attributed to the need to clarify certain legal issues with the federal administration [R1.3].

On 28 February 2016, Swiss citzens voted 50.8% for and 49.2% against a proposal to change the constitution that would have included the definition of marriage as between man and woman, whilst giving unmarried couples tax relief currently reserved for married couples [R1.2].

On 20 February 2015, the Legal Affairs Committee of the National Council in a 12-2 with 1 abstention vote, recommended that the National Council adopt a same-sex marriage parliamentary initiative called Marriage for All [R1.1].

R1.4 The Australian Online: Public Vote Gives Swiss Gays More Rights 06 JUN 05
R1.3 SwissInfo: Same-sex marriage delayed in Switzerland 16 JUN 17
R1.2 GayStarNews: Switzerland narrowly rejects initiative blocking same-sex marriage 28 FEB 16
R1.1 GayStarNews: Swiss legislative panel backs gay marriage 24 FEB 15
Military Legislation/Cases/References
1.

National

As at 2005, reportedly there is no longer any prohibition on homosexuals serving in the military [R1.1].

R1.1 New York Times: New Course by Royal Navy: A Campaign to Recruit Gays 22 FEB 05
Parenting, Adoption, Fostering Legislation/Cases/References
1.

National

On 30 May 2016, the House of Representatives passed 127-60 a law making it possible for all couples, regardless of marital status or sexual orientation to adopt the children of a partner. Extending adoption rights to couples living outside of marriage or a registered partnership passed more narrowly, 95 to 92, with two abstentions. The change will not permit same-sex couples to adopt other people's children. However, current law allows individuals to take in children given up for adoption [R1.6].

On 14 January 2016, it was reported that the upper house Council of States commission of legal affairs accepted 7-4 a change of law that would allow same-sex couple to apply for the adoption of stepchildren into their family. There are several legislative hurdles yet to be cleared, including lower house National Council approval [R1.5].

On 13 December 2012, the House of Representatives voted to allow a homosexual to adopt the child of his or her partner. The Senate had earlier approved a motion granting adoption rights regardless of marital status or sexual orientation, as long as the arrangement was the best option for the child in question. The present law permits a single gay man or lesbian woman to adopt [R1.4].

Previously

Same-sex couples registered under Switzerland's civil unions law are not entitled to adopt children [R1.3].


On 14 March 2012, the upper house Council of States, decided by 21 votes to 19 to give same-sex couples in some form of registered partnership the right to adopt children where it would be in the best interests of the child. The lower house National Council, must consider and pass the motion before it can become law [R1.2].

On 30 September 2011, the Parliament reportedly voted against amending the law to allow gay couples to adopt children. Current Swiss law prevents men or women living together as a couple from adopting, and yet a single gay man or lesbian woman can do so [R1.1].

2.

Courts & Tribunals

On 21 May 2015, the Federal Supreme Court was reported to have ruled that a child born to a surrogate mother in the United States can't have two fathers, finding that only the 4-year-old boy's biological father can be legally registered on his birth certificate [R2.3].

On 26 August 2014, it was reported that the St Gallen administrative court ruled that two men be recognised as the legal parents of a child born to a surrogate mother in the United States with an egg from an anonymous donor and sperm from one of the two Swiss fathers. The child's California birth certificate recognised the men as parents. The Federal Office of Justice may appeal the decision to the Federal Court [C2.2], [R2.1].

R1.6 Swissinfo: Green light for gays to adopt stepchildren 30 MAY 16
R1.5 GayStarNews: Switzerland comes one step closer to granting gay couples adoption rights 14 JAN 16
R1.4 SwissInfo: Gays granted more adoption rights 13 DEC 12
R1.3 MCV: Enduring Love Gains Recognition 11 JAN 07
R1.2 The Local: Swiss edge closer to gay adoption 15 MAR 12
R1.1 World Radio Switzerland: Parliament turns down gay adoption 30 SEP 11
R2.3 SFGATEnews: Swiss supreme court rules boy can't have 2 fathers 21 MAY 15
C2.2 Judgment: Parties undisclosed No. B 2013/158 (in German), 19 AUG 14
R2.1 SWI: Same-sex couple given parental rights to surrogate child 26 AUG 14
TaxationLegislation/Cases/References
1.

National

On 28 February 2016, Swiss citzens voted 50.8% for and 49.2% against a proposal to change the constitution that would have seen unmarried couples receive tax relief currently reserved for married couples but at the cost of including the definition of marriage as between man and woman [R1.1].

R1.1 GayStarNews: Switzerland narrowly rejects initiative blocking same-sex marriage 28 FEB 16
Violence: Bullying, Domestic Violence, Harassment, Hate Speech, Rape, Victimisation, Vilification Legislation/Cases/References
1.

National

On 12 March 2015, it was reported that the Swiss Parliament parliament voted 103-73 in favor (with 9 abstentions) to ensure nobody is targeted with hate speech and discrimination on the basis of their sexual or gender identity [R1.1].

2.

Courts & Tribunals

On 09 January 2016, the Criminal Court in Lausanne, Switzerland, determined that having sex without a condom constituted rape if the use of one was expected. The Court convicted a 47-year-old French man and imposed a 12-month suspended sentence on him for the rape of a Swiss woman after he took a condom off during sex without the victim knowing. (The ruling may apply to a same-sex male couple in a similar fact situation) [R2.1].

R1.1 GayStarNews: Switzerland votes for law to protect LGBTIs from prejudice 12 MAR 15
R2.1 Independent: Man convicted of rape for taking off condom during sex CH 12 JAN 17

GayLawNet®™ "Exclusive" Sponsorship of this page IS available