Recently, Switzerland earned yet another victory in advancing LGBTI rights when she criminalized homophobia and transphobia towards Gender and Sexual Minorities through a change in her constitution. According to Gay Times Magazine (30th September 2018), any form of prejudice or discrimination against LGBTI persons is illegal and punishable by 3 years’ imprisonment. This was confirmed after 118 members of Switzerland's National Council voted in favour of the law that was proposed by National Councillor, Mathias Reynard who told Gay Times Magazine that, "Homophobia is not an opinion. It is a crime.”
Since homosexuality was officially decriminalized in 1942, many reforms have been made in favour of the LGBTI community in Switzerland. From 1992, the consent age for both heterosexual and homosexual couples is 16 years of age. A legal procedure for the registration of transgender persons after sex reassignment was outlined in 1993 but since 2010, they are allowed to register their legal gender without a requirement of surgery. Equal treatment of all Swiss before the law without any discrimination whatsoever is guaranteed in Article 8 of the constitution of Switzerland of 1999. A bill that legalized step child adoption for same sex couples was passed in 2016 and the law has been in effect since 1st January 2018. Regardless of sexual orientation, single people can freely adopt children whenever they wish. Furthermore, lesbians, bisexual and gay persons are allowed to serve in the military openly. It is also legally acceptable for intersex persons to leave their gender entry blank without conforming to either "male" or "female". And finally, the ban on gay men giving blood was lifted.
Even though there are great successes towards the empowerment of human rights in Switzerland, LGBT rights still lack full legal equality. Same sex couples do not enjoy equal rights as heterosexual married couples when it comes to taxation, fertility, welfare and adoption. It should be noted that well as civil partnerships are legally recognised and can be registered since 2007, same sex couples can not get married by law. And while it is legal to adopt each other's child or children from past relationships, full or joint adoption of any other child is unacceptable. For same sex couples that wish to have their own children, the access to Intro Vitro Fertilization (IVF) was banned.
Reynard confirmed plans of introducing the marriage equality bill to the National Council that will legalise same sex marriages constitutionally. So far, it is believed that majority of the Swiss population supports gay marriages for both men and women after they rejected a proposal that had been put forward by the Christian Democratic People's Party in 2016. This initiative known as "For the couple and the family- No to the penalty of marriage" was voted against by the more than half of the Swiss people because it was anti LGBTI disguised as a tax reform policy according to Pink News (29th February 2016). Had it been passed, it could have killed all hopes for same sex marriages in the future.
So while the world hails Switzerland on the illegality of discrimination against the LGBT community and praise their laws in regards to same sex partnerships, adoption and transgender rights, there is more that should be done to establish Switzerland as the epitome of human rights all over the world.