Swiss homophobia referendum

In an encouraging vote, Swiss people demand that homophobic statements be punished. The Basic Law has some catching up to do.

Signs of hope from Switzerland: homophobia will soon be punishable there Photo: Jiroe / Unsplash

What is noteworthy about the Swiss vote for a future ban on homophobic statements is less that it was successful. Almost two thirds of the participants: want public-homophobic statements to be outlawed in the future. Rather, the fact that a right-wing populist concern was sovereignly rejected by the plebiscitarian population causes astonishment: hate does not have a majority – meanness and spitefulness are regarded as unsavory as a means of public discourse, and the right-wing may once again take note of this.

The fact that homophobia does not go away with this small change in criminal law, or at least diminishes, does nothing to change the famous result of the referendum. This is anyway the decisive advance in queer questions, as far as the past 40 years are concerned: there are still gay and lesbian enemies, homophobia stubbornly nests in some corners, but the perpetrators: those who express themselves in this way know more and more that they can no longer do this for the general courtesy. You may realize that you will do this in the future with punishment and also from the position of the moral minorities.

That Switzerland voted in this sense – a country that is structurally rather slow, yes, also very conservative – is not surprising: There may be right-wing movements everywhere in the western world that rely on hatred, resentment and xenophobia as lubricants for their agitations. But nowhere do they have majorities behind them, at most they pretend that they are on their side.

Knowing this is important because the eternal left talk of “shifting to the right” and “backlash” firstly cannot be brought into line with reality and secondly with apocalyptic rhetoric deprives confidence, especially in the struggles in terms of hatred and To be able to gain integration.

The federal vote is encouraging. It is time that Article 3 of the Basic Law of the Federal Republic was supplemented with a passage that no one should be discriminated against because of his sexual identity. It would be overdue.

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