Swiss gay couple marry as same-sex marriage becomes legal

Swiss gay couple marry as same-sex marriage becomes legal

Alois Carnier, 57, and Peter Leu, 67, said wholeheartedly, I do to each other on Friday as same-sex marriages in Switzerland became legal.

It is the first time that two men have walked out of the civil registry in their town of Schaffhausen as husband and husband.

The marriage for all initiative was approved by a majority of voters last September, making Switzerland one of the last countries in Western Europe to legalise same-sex marriage.

Carnier, who entered into a partnership with Leu in 2014, has been active in a decades-long campaign to recognise gay rights, and said that the ceremony was very important to me because this has been 20 years in the making.

Aline, 46, and Laure, 45, tied the knot across the country after being together for 21 years. They have a four-year-old son and they had previously been in a civil partnership, like Leu and Carnier.

This is a new stage for us, said Laure, a human resources specialist who, like her partner, refused to give her family name.

It was a very moving moment, and a much-awaited moment, which sends a strong message to society. Geneva Mayor Marie Barbey-Chappuis, who attended the ceremony, said to be free to love.

In 2007, same-sex couples won the right to enter civil partnerships and the right to adopt children parented by their partner in 2018.

But they lacked rights granted to married heterosexual couples, including access to regular adoption and sperm donations, as well as an easier path to citizenship for foreign spouses.

The change carried emotional and societal weight for Leu and Carnier.

"I think it's important that our marriage is recognised equally and isn't put to the side in a special category," Leu said.

The men plan to cement their marriage with a religious wedding next year.

In June, the council presiding over the Christian Catholic Church of Switzerland to which Carnier belongs voted to bless the marriages of same-sex couples with the same sacraments and rituals as heterosexual weddings.

The couple plans to invite family and friends to their religious ceremonies, including two adult children Leu shares with his ex-wife and a two-and-a-half-year-old granddaughter.

I'm convinced that if she grows up with three grandfathers, it's going to be something very natural for her, Leu said. The horizons have expanded.