Referendum on discrimination

The Swiss voted to ban discrimination against lesbians, gays, and bisexuals, and public displays of homophobia.  

The Swiss have an interesting system that enables almost any issue to be brought to a national vote.  Only 50,000 signatures are needed to create a referendum, including those that result in a constitutional amendment.  I’d recently seen a few signs around the city that appeared to be in support of (or in opposition to) some referendum or another, but few of the signs included enough context for me to discern the topic of the referendum. (There is no English-language newspaper in Switzerland, so I remain in the dark about local issues.)  I heard there was a referendum about a new road/rail tunnel to be built.  As it turns out, there was a far more interesting referendum underway.

Yesterday, the Swiss voted to ban discrimination against lesbians, gays, and bisexuals, and public displays of homophobia.  From the New York Times story:

Swiss voters agreed on Sunday to penalize public homophobia, greenlighting an amendment to an antidiscrimination law that had not provided protection for lesbians, gay men and bisexual people. …

Voters were asked in a referendum whether they wanted to extend Switzerland’s racism statutes to sexual orientation, and on Sunday 63.1 percent voted in favor of it. The extension was backed by the government and most of Switzerland’s political parties. …

In 2018, lawmakers voted to add sexual orientation to an existing law that penalized discrimination based on race, ethnicity and religion. Under the amended law, homophobic comments made in public would be punishable with up to three years in prison. …

Yet, opponents argued that such an extension was counter to freedom of expression, and that they should be able to express their views on homosexuality publicly. They gathered the 50,000 signatures necessary to force a national referendum.

Kronberg

A beautiful hike to Kronberg in the Appenzell region, under blue skies and with spring-like conditions.

Today I went hiking with a colleague from the University of St. Gallen, about an hour to the east of Zürich.  Our goal was the summit of Kronberg, 1662m, with fabulous views of Mount Säntis and the Alpstein region to the south, and deep into the Swiss Alps to the west and the Austrian Alps to the east, as well as to the grand expanse of Lake Constance to the northeast.  Read on and check out the gallery.

Someone has stomped out a Heart in the snow.

 

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