Divided Swiss to vote on same-sex marriage

"I want to be able to choose for myself if I want to marry this partner that I have next to me. I want to be able to choose for myself if it's the right path for us to start a family."

Swiss voters will decide on Sunday whether to allow same-sex couples to wed and adopt children after a highly charged campaign in one of the last countries in Western Europe to still ban gay marriage.

Switzerland's federal government and parliament voted in favour of opening civil marriage to same-sex couples.

Conservative opponents however, forced a national referendum on the issue under Switzerland's system of direct democracy.

For Zurich couple Corrine and Anouk, the 'Marriage for All' vote represents an important milestone for them as they plan their future together.

"Today, if I reach a certain age and I'm single, regardless of my sexual orientation, I can be accepted into the adoption process and apply to adopt a child. But if I'm in a same-sex partnership, right now I can't, regardless of my age and regardless of my background. That's a shame and that's why I think it's important to take a step forward. Of course, a child needs safety and love, they need a secure environment, but I don't think it makes a difference whether that's given by a straight or gay couple."

The latest poll for Swiss broadcaster SRG found that 63% of voters were set to approve same-sex marriage, while 35% were against it, showing the no-campaign had gained traction in the traditionally conservative country since the first poll in August.

Opponents say the amended law, which would also allow lesbian couples to have children through sperm donation, would deprive children of a father.

Same-sex couples received the right to enter civil partnerships in 2007 and the right to adopt children parented by their partner in 2018.

Under the amended law, both male and female same-sex couples would be allowed to adopt children unrelated to them in the same way as their heterosexual counterparts.

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