In these two days of debates we have been approaching LGBT rights in a world-view , inter alia we knew the positions of the Western and the Middle East – African blocs. We know that Switzerland has sided with the Western bloc , but we have not had the opportunity to talk about the situation in the country that hosts us. To get to know the state of LGBT rights in Switzerland we met Mr. Daniel Weber, lawyer and representative of the Swiss Network, an association which campaigns for the rights of homosexuals.
During his speech, Mr. Weber explained that the project back in 1990 to introduce an article in the Swiss Constitution to protect the rights of gay men and lesbian women. At that moment Network started lobbying in order to write explicitly the words “gay” and “lesbian” in the Constitution, but this attempt failed.
For several reasons, these terms were summarized with “Way of life” (Art. 8 Swiss Federal Constitution), and since 1999 this provides protection to all persons with a different sexual orientation.
The next step was the introduction of a “registered partnership”, accepted through a referendum and in act since 2007. From this time on gay people are guaranteed an equal treatment but adoption.
Daniel Weber assures: this exception will still be discussed.

Our guest answers some questions:

The adoption is not allowed to same-sex couples, why?

The reason is the image in the minds of the people. This needs to be replaced, we must convince people that there is no difference and that two parents of the same sex are able to take care of children as well as a heterosexual couple.

Children are born in natural way from heterosexual couples, so when you go to a lobby what kind of arguments you use in favor of the adoption of children by gay couples? Scientific ones?

We use whatever arguments may convince people and among them there are also scientific topics .
We must also remember that the adoption is not for the children about to be born, these children are already born and what matters is that they have a loving family.

Why you only talk about men? It is because Switzerland is not yet ready to talk about transgender?

20 years ago the term LGBT did not exist and therefore we started working only with gay people.
I don’t know what would happen if we introduce this category in our fight against the discrimination. The work done for gays and lesbians led to much progress, for transgender everything is more complicated, but in Switzerland you can legally undergo operations to change sex.

What is the Switzerland’s position compared to EU?

We are still lagging behind in several European countries: Norway and Sweden came to our goal faster.
In the early 90s a judge proposed to change the law sharply in favor of gays, but it was too early, people were not prepared to accept it. It is true our decisions have taken a long time, but we must also admit that Switzerland is not a nation where overnight can be a revolution.

How many gays are there in parliament?

I do not know exactly, I personally know 4, all openly gay and members of the association

Have you and people of you knowledge ever suffered discrimination as openly gays?

As a lawyer I know many stories of discrimination at work, but I’m lucky because my job allows me to work independently, no one tells me what should I do. Nevertheless I found myself in situations where my sexual orientation prevailed on my work: I had clients who withdrew the mandate when they found out that I was gay, but I don’t think this is discrimination, it is a free and informed decision.
I’m not afraid to say I’m gay, but despite this I don’t tell it to every new person I meet. It is simply part of my private life. When you as heterosexuals present yourselves you do not say “Hi, I am heterosexual”, isn’t it? 
However this doesn’t mean that I hide myself, I talked about my homosexuality on TV and in several other occasions, as well as simply being gay I’m also many other things. I am a normal person!

Author: Margarita Timofejeva