An estimated 20,000 people came out to support a combined Pride march and protest in Zurich, Switzerland, over the weekend. The event took place ahead of a September 26 national referendum which will determine whether or not same-sex marriage is finally legalized in the small European nation.
In December, the Swiss parliament voted to legalize same-sex marriage by a vote of 136 to 48 in the lower house and 24 to 11 in the upper house. However, a conservative coalition raised enough signatures to throw the decision into a national referendum.
Currently, same-sex couples are entitled only to official civil unions under Swiss law. Should the referendum pass, they would be granted the larger protections offered by marriage, including the right to adopt children.
Currently, 82% of the Swiss population supports legalizing same-sex marriage, according to a survey conducted by Pink Cross, an LGBTQ+ advocacy group.
The referendum comes at a time when LGBTQ+ rights are on the forefront of European politics. In recently years, conservative governments in both Hungary and Poland have stepped up attacks on the LGBTQ+ community in an effort to preserve traditional family and nationalistic values.
These strict regulations have put them increasingly at odds with other European Union countries. This week, the European Union threatened to withhold $150 million in aid to Polish provinces if a number of “LGBT-free” zones across the country were not rescinded. Switzerland is not part of the European Union.
The Zurich Pride Parade’s banner slogan read, “You can do it. Marriage for everyone now.”