From 2018, same-sex couples can adopt children in Switzerland. On the other hand, the Swiss legislators decreased the level of secrecy during the process so that the biological parents may get in contact with the children more easily.
In Switzerland, the LGBTQ community obtained elevated rights, but they still can not marry. Civil union is allowed for the gay couples, since 2017. From 2018, the rules regarding adoption became lighter, because anyone can adopt children, even people in a civil partnership or longterm relationship.
Swiss laws align with the legislation of the European Union and the decisions of the ECHR (European Court of Human Rights).
However, the bad news is that same-sex couples in civil partnerships may adopt children, who are biologically related to one of the partners. So, a lesbian or gay person may adopt, when if single but can not do the same if lives in a civil partnership.
The legal situation is more than exciting because the question of the adoption by LGBT persons was deliberately left out of the public and nationwide vote, when the Swiss citizens decided to let gay people enter in a civil union, back in 2005. The activists did so to increase the chance of a decisive vote then.
The Swiss people are getting used to the so-called "Rainbow families". A couple of years ago, the same-sex couples with their own or adopted children could not be seen in the mainstream media. However, there was a "Rainbow family" in a show of the Swiss public television (SRF). During the next day, Blick, the Swiss tabloid published an article about it. Interestingly, not like the British far-right wing Daily Mail, the Blick only stated that same-sex parents and families were "Still represented too rarely in the Swiss television".
According to the official Swissinfo, the Swiss Rainbow Families Association estimates up to thirty thousand children are growing up in rainbow families in Switzerland. In this case, a rainbow family has at least one LGBT parent.
There are other small changes in the law related to adoption. The qualifying age of the parents decreased to 28 from 35. The new parents also must prove that they have been living in a relationship for three years, instead of the previous minimum limit of five years. Moreover, the level of secrecy became more relaxed. In Switzerland, the system allowed only "secret adoption", when the adopted child could obtain information on the biological parents as a young adult, after became 18 years old. From January 2018, the biological parents will also receive data on the new parents, and they can enter in contact with the adopted child or children with the permission of the adoptive parents if the child is still under 18.
The decision on gay marriage may arrive in 2019, as the legislators decided to extend their deadline for allowing the same-sex couples to wed. The Swiss Parliament obliged the legal affairs committee to draw the bill "Marriage for everyone" in two years time. As the members of the committee are looking into the expected changes of law, regarding tax and social security issues, only a small minority of MPs from the rightwing Swiss People's Party oppose the bill and want to start an initiative to drop the legislation.
According to a poll from 2016, seven out of ten voters think that same-sex couples should be allowed to get married.
Switzerland is a member of the European Union's Schengen zone. Are you interested in living in the EU? Ask for more information!